Local News Update: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in telephone conversation with the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his empathy to Australians as they battle one of the worst bushfires in history. Bushfires in Australia at this time of the year are quite a natural occurrence. However, the extent of the damage and the rage of the fires this year are quite severe and have already claimed the lives of over 30 Australians – including lives of rescue workers. It is feared that lives of half a billion animals being affected is a conservative estimate.
It is expected that the worst is yet to come with January and February usually being the hottest months in Australia. While all the States in Australia are affected by wildfires, the worst hit is New South Wales where over two thousand homes had been ravaged. Early December last year, due to smoke the quality of air in Sydney was rated as 11 times the hazardous level.
President Rajapaksa sympathized deeply with the families who have lost their loved ones to the fires. Having suffered through our own natural disasters such as the 2004 tsunami, floods and so on, President Rajapaksa said that Sri Lankan people fully understand the horror Australian citizens are suffering at this moment.
As world renowned Ceylon Tea is a favorite and comforting beverage to Australian citizens, President Rajapaksa hopes that the tea that Sri Lanka is donating would help raise the spirits of Australians in these trying times.