Panic as Sri Lanka minister triggers fears of another tsunami

Thousands of people living on Sri Lanka’s tsunami-battered coasts fled inland after comments by a minister Thousands of people living on Sri Lanka’s tsunami-battered coasts fled inland after comments by a minister Police and officials said schools were hastily closed in the eastern city of Batticaloa, while people were seen running from the shores in the devastated southern towns of Matara, Galle and Hikkaduwa.

Several motor accidents were reported along the main coastal highway to the south of the island, police said.

Police tried to assure people that no tsunami alert had been sounded, while government officials contacted foreign news agencies to find out if there were reports of earthquakes in the region.

The panic was apparently sparked by comments to a radio station by Science and Technology Tissa Vitharana that it was possible that some time in the future another tsunami could strike the island.

His long-term assessment was however apparently taken by survivors of the December 26 tsunami as a warning of immediate danger.

Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernand