Tsunami helped to create peace, say UN experts

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe (2nd R) arrives to visit the site of a bomb attack at St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo on April 21, 2019. - A string of blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on April 21, killing at least 156 people, including 35 foreigners. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

BONN, Mar.28 (AFP) – Wars were one of the main problems hampering efforts to save lives in natural disasters but catastrophes like the Asian tsunami have helped to promote peace, UN experts said here on Tuesday. The death toll in Sri Lanka, one of the countries hit by the December 2004 tsunami, was aggravated by the conflict waged by Tamil Tiger rebels while famine in east Africa has been worsened by the Eritrea-Ethiopia border war, UN advisor Benjamin Wisner said.

“When the bodies were counted in Sri Lanka, we found that many of the deadly wounds were inflicted by barbed wire fences put as barriers in a bid to control certain areas,” he told AFP.

Wisner was speaking on the sidelines of the UN’s Third International Conference on Early Warning in the western German city of Bonn.

The conference has been discussing the creation of warning systems all over the world to alert people to climatic disasters like the tsunami, hurricanes or droughts and floods.

Wisner said that in Ethiopia and Eritrea, two of the east African nations gripped by a drought threatening 11 million people with starvation, many farmers cannot cultivate their land because it is littered with landmines left over from the two neighb