Tight safety rules for Sri Lankan fishermen
Colombo: After some 54 people, a good majority of them fishermen, had died due to stormy weather since last weekend in Sri Lanka, authorities said fishermen would be subject to tighter safety measures in future.
"I am proposing laws to make it mandatory for boats to be equipped with life jackets and other safety features."
"If they had these basics, we could have reduced this loss of life," Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Amaraweera said.
The minister said a total of 54 people had died in the monsoon rains since Friday while 17 more were missing.
At least 33 injured are still in hospital.
Amaraweera said life jackets for fishermen would soon be made mandatory.
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department dismissed the accusations that they had failed to issue early warning to fishermen and said that by 4 pm local time on Friday they had issued warnings of jet stream winds up to 80 kms per hour.
"All those who died had died between 1 and 2 am on Saturday," Met Department head SR Jayasekera told reporters.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa last night appointed a three-member panel to report to him on the circumstances which led to the deaths of fishermen.
Families of the dead fishermen are to be compensated with a payment of Rs 100,000 with additional 15,000 to cover funeral expenditure, the government said.