By Ramesh Mathews
SRI Lankans in Qatar gathered at their embassy to remember the victims of tsunami that lashed the island nation on December 26, 2004.They observed silence in remembrance of the victims.Besides Ambassador Vijaysiri Padukkage, embassy officials and representatives of community forums attended the gathering that the mission held in association with Sri Lankan co-ordination committee (SLCC), comprising members of various forums. Sri Lankans of different faiths attended the meeting. Lanka Lions, Sri Lankan Majlis, Wakrah Sports Club, Sri Lankan Quantity Surveyors Association, Sri Lankan Community Benevolent Fund and Sri Lankan Business Council are members of the SLCC.Embassy official Tharma Kulansingham and chief co-ordinator of SLCC community representative Nimal Tudewatta were among others who spoke at the meeting.The ambassador said Sri Lanka had overcome heavy challenges to complete the rehabilitation of the living victims of the tsunami. He said Sri Lanka had already completed more than 90% of the rehabilitation work and the world bodies had acknowledged the efforts Sri Lanka had made in this direction. A Sri Lankan embassy official said the remembrance meeting was also held at Sri Lankan missions worldwide.Nearly 2mn Sri Lankans affected by the tsunami had been beneficiaries through 223 tsunami recovery projects carried out during the last four years by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, according to a report from the country.By the first quarter of 2009, nearly 33,000 houses would be built with the Red Cross funding. This amounts to 27% of the 120,000 houses that were damaged or destroyed, the report said. The island republic had reported at least 40,000 deaths in the devastating tragedy that struck South East Asia including parts of the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.Among the victims was a Sri Lankan infant boy from Doha, who had gone for a vacation with his parents.