Thursday, May 26, 2005

Former US President Bill Clinton visits Sri Lanka on 27th May

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy for Tsunami Reconstruction, former US President Bill Clinton is due in Sri Lanka on May 27. This is his first official visit to Sri Lanka after assuming the new post.

Mr. Clinton visited Sri Lanka in February this year with George H. W. Bush, another former US President, representing the US. They were able to witness the massive damage caused by the tsunami and had a first hand account of the tsunami relief program in several affected areas in the South. They took time to make a visit to the Children's trauma counseling camp in Matara during their visit.

The UN special envoy is expected to visit one of the worst affected areas either in the North or in the East during his short visit this time.

Diplomatic sources said that Mr. Clinton will meet the donor representatives based in Colombo and hold discussions with President Chandrika Kumaratunga on the tsunami reconstruction activities in the country.

A Children’s village will come up at Walahanduwa Watta, Akmeemana, in Galle District with the financial aid from former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Senator Hilary Clinton. The Clinton couple had donated US $ 15 million for this purpose.

Skill Development, Vocational Training and Technical Education Minister Piyasena Gamage said that the children’s village at Walahaduwa Watta will be for the benefit of the tsunami victim children who lost their parents at the tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004. He said that he was grateful to the Clintons for the generous contribution for the sake of children who were made orphans by the natural disaster.

The children’s village will have a school, a boarding house, a play ground for children, a meeting hall for the populace and a fully equipped hospital, the Minister said.

The Chief Sanga Nayake of New York Vihara, Chairman, International Temples Foundation and lecturer at the New York University Ven. Kurunegala Piyatissa Thera was also present at the ceremony to commence the project to create the children’s vllage.