28/02/2005

Prince visits tsunami-hit areas of Sri Lanka

The Prince of Wales has visited one of the areas worst affected by the Asian tsunami disaster, during a visit to Sri Lanka.

Prince Charles visited Batticaloa, one of the poorest parts of the country, where one in ten people died in the Boxing Day disaster last year. Almost half of the 31,000 people killed in the tsunami were from Batticaloa or nearby Ampara. The area has also been badly affected by two decades of civil war.

During his visit, the Prince, met female volunteers from the Sri Lanka Red Cross, who are assisting with the clear-up operation, as well as local fishermen whose livelihoods have been greatly affected by the disaster.

At least 400,000 have lost their jobs because of the disaster, the International Labour Organisation has estimated, with most of the job losses occurring in the fishing trade, as well as the agriculture and tourism industries.

Prince Charles also visited the village of Maddikkali, where local people are living in temporary tent shelters.

The Prince, who last visited Sri Lanka in 1998, also met with Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga in Colombo. He will also be visiting Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Fiji.

(KMcA/SP)

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