BENTOTA, Sri Lanka -- U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Alaina B. Teplitz handed over a donation of rescue boat engines and other lifesaving equipment to Mr. Asanka Nanayakkara, President of Sri Lanka Life Saving to contribute to Sri Lanka’s efforts to improve water safety. This equipment will greatly increase the organizations ability to conduct lifesaving activities in the rough coastal waters around Sri Lanka and will help strengthen Sri Lanka’s search and rescue capabilities during the monsoon flooding season.
The U.S. Department of Defense funded the donation, which includes 3 Suzuki 40hp outboard motors for use with inflatable rescue boats, 44 safety helmets for boat operators, 11 rescue ropes and 22 life buoys rings. In addition to the donation, U.S. Embassy personnel have worked with the Ministries of Health, Education, and Tourism to support the establishment of the first national water safety policy.
“I am happy that the United States can provide this rescue gear that will inevitably save Sri Lankan lives during monsoon flooding and other natural disasters,” said Ambassador Teplitz. “Empowering Sri Lankan civil society to ensure the safety and security of the people of Sri Lanka is a key component of our longstanding support.”
For decades, the United States has provided disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka that has included tsunami recovery assistance, 2017 flood relief, infrastructure improvements, enhanced weather forecasting, and ongoing disaster management and medical training and support. Over the last 70 years, the United States has contributed Rs. 370 billion in aid to Sri Lanka, none of which must be repaid. This assistance has helped foster a strong, sovereign Sri Lanka.