UN slams Sri Lanka’s warring parties on tsunami anniversary

Dec 26, 2006 (AFP) – The United Nations slammed Sri Lanka’s warring parties for stalling tsunami reconstruction efforts Tuesday as the island marked the second anniversary of the disaster by unveiling a Buddha statue.

The outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan blamed both Colombo and the Tamil Tiger rebels for the violence that has slowed rebuilding after the December 26, 2004 tsunami that killed an estimated 31,000 people in Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake unveiled a Buddha statue at a site where 1,000 passengers died when their train was swept away by the giant waves at the southern town of Peraliya, 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of here.

Officials said President Mahinda Rajapakse was due at the commemoration, but he did not turn up and instead the premier presided over the ceremonies.

The government also set up the first of a series of towers fitted with loudhailers to alert beach-goers to any impending disaster.

However, the country has no formal tsunami early warning system but receives information from the US Geological Survey about seismic activity that could trigger a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

The UN chief said the conflict between the Sri Lankan gov