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Srilanka Colombo Terrorist Attack - Lifesavers Air Ambulance

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Srilanka Colombo Terrorist Attack - Lifesavers Air Ambulance

Srilanka Colombo Terrorist Attack - Lifesavers Air Ambulance -EMS Role in Terrorist Attack

HI Flying - Air Ambulance condemns the terrorist attack at Sri Lanka.

Pope Francis denounced the "cruel violence" of the Easter Sunday slaughter of Christians and foreigners in Sri Lanka as he celebrated the most joyful moment on the Christian liturgical calendar by lamenting the bloodshed and political violence afflicting many parts of the world. Francis skipped his homily during Easter Mass but delivered his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" (To the city and the world) speech highlighting conflicts in the Mideast, Africa, and the Americas and demanding that political leaders put aside their differences and work instead for peace. 

"May the one who gives us his peace end the roar of arms, both in areas of conflict and in our cities, and inspire the leaders of nations to work for an end to the arms race and the troubling spread of weaponry, especially in the economically more advanced countries,"

The defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, says seven people have been arrested in connection with the attacks. He says at least 190 people have been killed, including 27 foreigners.

Just minutes after the government said the death toll had risen to 190, the police have said 207 people have been killed and 450 injured.

Authorities in Sri Lanka have launched a massive security operation and imposed a curfew after a wave of bombs in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed at least 207 people and injured 450.

The eight blasts, some of which officials said were suicide bomb attacks, appeared timed to cause maximum casualties among worshippers attending Easter services.

In one church, St. Sebastian’s in Negombo, north of the capital, Colombo, more than 50 people had been killed, a police official said. Much of the church roof was blown out in the explosion, with roof tiles and splintered wood littering the floor and pools of blood in between wounded worshippers.

In total, three churches and four hotels were targeted. The other explosion was in a house in Colombo, authorities said.

terrorist attack in sri lanka -ems
Most of the targets were either in or close to the capital. Among the four hotels targeted was the Cinnamon Grand, a luxury hotel in the center of the city that is favored by top politicians.

Sri Lanka’s defense minister said seven suspects had been arrested following a series of blasts. The foreign minister said at least 27 foreigners were among the dead and that two police officers were killed during an operation to capture suspects from a safehouse in Dematagoda, the area outside Colombo where the eighth blast occurred.

The attacks are the most significant in the small island nation for many years and come a decade after the end of a bloody civil war.

One explosion occurred at a hotel near the national zoo when security forces reportedly cornered attackers.

Authorities imposed a curfew, though it was unclear if the ban on movement would start immediately or was overnight.

Hospitals were struggling to cope with the influx of casualties.


At least 160 people injured in the St Anthony’s blast had been admitted to the Colombo National hospital alone by mid-morning, one official said. The main hospital in the eastern port city of Batticaloa had received more than 300 people with injuries following the blast at the Zion church.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks. The prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, convened Sri Lanka‘s top military officials at an emergency meeting of the national security council.

“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating false reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation,” Wickremesinghe said on Twitter.

Leaders around the world rushed to condemn the attacks.

Theresa May, the UK prime minister, called the blasts “appalling” and Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said those affected would be in the prayers of millions marking Easter Sunday around the world.

“On this holy day, let us stand with the people of Sri Lanka in prayer, condolence and solidarity as we reject all violence, all hatred and all division,” he said.

Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination, and 30 foreigners were among the dead, officials said. 

Julian Emmanuel and his family, from Surrey, were staying at the Cinnamon Grand when the bomb went off. He told the BBC: “We were in our room and heard a massive explosion. It woke us up. There were ambulances, fire crews, police sirens.

“I came out of the room to see what’s happening. We were ushered downstairs. We were told there had been a bomb. Staff said some people were killed.

The blasts marked the end of a lull in violence after the bloody end of the civil war in 2009 during which bombings were common.

Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s economic reforms minister, described horrible scenes at the sites of two attacks. 

“I saw many body parts strewn all over. Emergency crews are at all locations in full force,” he tweeted after visiting the Shangri-La and St. Anthony’s. “We took multiple casualties to hospital. Hopefully saved many lives.”

Colombo’s archbishop, Malcolm Ranjith, called on the public to rally in support of the victims, according to local media, requesting all doctors to report to work despite the holiday and members of the public to donate blood.

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka issued a statement condemning the attack on the places of worship of “our Christian brothers and sisters on their holy day of Easter, as well as on the hotels in Colombo.”

“We mourn the loss of innocent lives due to extremist and violent elements who wish to create divides between religious and ethnic groups to realize their agenda,” the statement said.

Out of Sri Lanka‘s total population of around 22 million, 70% are Buddhist, 12.6% Hindu, 9.7% Muslim, and 7.6% Christian, according to the country’s 2012 census.

There has been growing intercommunal tension in Sri Lanka for several years. Last year, there were 86 verified incidents of discrimination, threats, and violence against Christians, according to organizations that represent more than 200 local churches and other Christian organizations.

This year, the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), recorded 26 such incidents, including one in which Buddhist monks allegedly attempted to disrupt a Sunday worship service, with the last one reported on 25 March. 

  • Most of the dead are believed to have been locals, with the BBC putting the number of foreigners killed at nine, and AFP reporting that 35 people from other countries have lost their lives. The Guardian understands that British tourists are feared to be among those killed.
  • No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Sri Lanka’s defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, said the culprits had been identified and were religious extremists. An official told the Associated Press that two blasts were suspected to have been the work of suicide bombers.
  • The government has imposed a curfew with immediate effect. It also shut down social media and messaging services.
  • There were six initial blasts, at three hotels and three churches, before two more explosions sometime later, at a guest house and housing scheme, with two people, reported to have been killed at the former. Harsha de Silva, a government minister, said the last two blasts appeared to have been carried out by the culprits as they fled from police.
  • The prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, condemned the “cowardly” attacks and urged people to remain “united and strong”. He convened Sri Lanka‘s top military officials at an emergency meeting of the national security council.
  • The archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Ranjith, called it “a very sad day” and urged the government to identify the attackers and “punish them mercilessly because only animals can behave like that”.
  • World leaders including Narendra Modi, Imran Khan, Theresa May, Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Vladimir Putin condemned the attacks and expressed their sympathies to the victims. May called the violence “truly appalling” and said that “no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear”.

British Holidaymakers in Colombo

Britons feared to be among the dead

British tourists are feared to be among the foreign nationals killed in the Easter Sunday bombings across Srilanka, the Guardian understands.

Tourism from the UK to Sri Lanka has surged in recent years, with more than 250,000 visits by British holidaymakers in 2018, according to the high commission in London. The embassy has set up an emergency hotline on 07917 382486 for families and friends concerned about a loved one in Sri Lanka.

Travel Advisory

On 21 April 2019 bombs were used to attack three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, in central Colombo, and in the northern suburb of Colombo Kochchikade, and roughly twenty miles north of Colombo in Negombo and in the east of the country in Batticaloa. There have been significant casualties. If you are in Sri Lanka and you are safe, we advise that you contact family and friends to let them know that you are safe. 

If you are in Sri Lanka and have been directly affected by the attacks, please call the main number for the Embassy in Colombo: +94 11 5390639, follow the phone message, and select the emergency option from where you will be connected to one of our consular staff. If you’re in the UK and worried about British friends or family in Sri Lanka caught up in the incidents, please call the FCO switchboard number: 020 7008 1500 and follow the same steps.

On 21 April 2019 bombs were used to attack three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, in central Colombo, and in the northern suburb of Colombo Kochchikade, and roughly twenty miles north of Colombo in Negombo and in the east of the country in Batticaloa. There have been significant casualties.

Security has been stepped up across the island. The airport is operating, but with increased security checks. Some airlines are advising their passengers to arrive early for check-in, in light of increased security screening. If you are in Sri Lanka, please follow the advice of local security authorities, hotel security staff or your tour company. You should avoid large gatherings.

If you are in Sri Lanka and you are safe, we advise that you contact family and friends to let them know that you are safe.

If you are in Sri Lanka and have been directly affected by the attacks, please call the main number for the Embassy in Colombo: +94 11 5390639, follow the phone message, and select the emergency option from where you will be connected to one of our consular staff. If you’re in the UK and worried about British friends or family in Sri Lanka caught up in the incidents, please call the FCO switchboard number: 020 7008 1500 and follow the same steps.

You need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. 

Most visits to Sri Lanka are trouble-free. However, you should be aware of the risk of sexual assault, spiked drinks, road accidents, drowning due to dangerous tides and credit card fraud. See Safety & Security

Dengue fever occurs throughout the country.

Sri Lanka can be affected by severe weather such as like tropical cyclones and monsoon rains. A general alert has been issued by the Centre for Disaster Management over the onset of the South Western Monsoon 

Terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka can’t be ruled out.

Three Indian Nationals is confirmed to be dead during the Terrorist attack.

 

Social Media Blackout

The president’s office has confirmed that Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites have been temporarily blocked in Sri Lanka, underlining that the blackout will continue as long as necessary for security forces to conclude their investigations into the attacks.

It said the decision was prompted by the spread of misinformation on those sites.

Facebook statement on the block in Sri Lanka

“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this horrendous act. Teams from across Facebook have been working to support first responders and law enforcement as well as to identify and remove content which violates our standards,” a spokesperson said.

“We are aware of the government’s statement regarding the temporary blocking of social media platforms. People rely on our services to communicate with their loved ones and we are committed to maintaining our services and helping the community and the country during this tragic time.”

More updates

25 killed foreigners remain unidentified

The Sri Lankan foreign ministry has issued a further statement with more detail on the number of foreigners caught up in the attack.

Eleven are confirmed dead, with nine reported missing, and 25 unidentified people believed to be foreigners remain at the Colombo judicial medical officer’s mortuary.

Nineteen foreign nationals have been hospitalized and are at Colombo’s national hospital, according to the ministry.

“Following the explosions that took place in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, earlier today, the number of foreign nationals who have been identified as deceased at the National Hospital in Colombo stands at eleven,” the statement read.

Of the confirmed fatalities, three are Indian, three are from the UK, two hold US and UK nationalities, two are from Turkey and one is from Portugal.

Denmark’s foreign ministry has said three Danish citizens were also among those killed

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has announced as he condemned the terrorist attacks

I was shocked and saddened to hear of the devastating terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, which have claimed the lives of more than two hundred people and injured many hundreds more. On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I offer my heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost loved ones and my hope for a full recovery to those injured.

Canada strongly condemns these heinous attacks on hotels and Christians at prayer in churches. Places of worship are sacred, where all should feel safe and secure. No one should be targeted because of their faith.

For millions of people around the world, Easter is a time to reflect on Jesus’ message of compassion and kindness—a time to come together with friends and family. We cannot let attacks like these weaken the hope we share.

To the people of Sri Lanka and other communities affected by today’s attacks: Canada stands with you. We will continue to work with you and other international partners to combat terrorism and violent extremism and to promote greater peace and stability around the world.

To date, we have no reports of any Canadian citizens being affected. Due to the current situation, our High Commission in Colombo will be closed on April 22. However, Canadians in need of emergency consular assistance should contact sos@international.gc.ca or call +1 613 996 8885.

srilanka pictures of terror

terror attack in colombo

next of kin of terror victims

lone shoe - lifesaving services from hi flying air ambulance

Updates on 22 April

  • At least 290 people have been killed and 500 injured by a series of eight explosions targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Sunday night.
  • 24 people have been arrested, and the defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the culprits were religious extremists, but no group has yet claimed responsibility.
  • The prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said security services had been “aware of information” of a possible attack up to 10 days ago, and said the government “must look into why adequate precautions were not taken”.
  • Most of the dead are believed to have been Sri Lankans, but roughly 30 foreign citizens has been confirmed killed, including five Britons, three Indians and one Japanese citizen, and others.
  • The government has shut down social media and messaging services to prevent the spread of misinformation.
  • The coordinated attacks began with seven initial explosions – at four hotels and three churches – with another explosion later detonated while suspects fled from police.
  • Defense minister Wijewardene said suicide bombers were responsible for the majority of the bombings
  • World leaders including Narendra Modi, Imran Khan, Jacinda Ardern, Theresa May, Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Vladimir Putin condemned the attacks.

Sri Lankan authorities were warned two weeks before the Easter Sunday attacks, and had the names of suspects, cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne has said, as the death toll from the string of bombings rose to 290, with about 500 injured.

“On the 4th of April, 14 days before these incidents occurred we had been informed about these incidents,” he said. “On the 9th of April, the chief of national intelligence wrote a letter and in this letter many of the names of the members of the terrorist organisation were written down,” Senaratne said. “The prime minister [Ranil Wickremesinghe] was not informed by these letters and revelations”.

By Monday, the police had 24 suspects in custody. Spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara said they had seized a van and driver they believe transported the suspects into Colombo and also raided a safe house used by the attackers. Three police were among the dead when the eighth bomb went off during a raid on a housing complex in Colombo during the hunt for the attackers.

Away from the capital Colombo, yellow crime scene tape stretched around the perimeter of St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of the Colombo a day after a bomb blast ripped through the congregation.

St Sebastian’s courtyard was littered with flowers, shattered stained glass and red and pink pieces of debris from the building. Catholic sisters and priests took turns peering through the destroyed windows of the church at the carnage inside.

“We cannot explain this,” said Father Danushka Fernando. “This was supposed to be the mass of the children, so lots of women and children were present.”

In the church, investigators covered their mouths with balaclavas as they surveyed the scene. Pews were strewn across the church floor around the point near the back of the church where a terrorist had detonated his backpack. Parts of the roof and walls had been blown away, revealing the bricks and blue tarpaulin underneath. Red candles were still in bunches at the ends of some of the pews.

Another priest in the courtyard said he was struggling to contain himself. “If this is done by who I suspect – is this their religion?” he asked. “This is insanity.

“As leaders, we must ask people to love one another,” he added, declining to give his name. “But speaking as a person, I am angry.”

As Sri Lankans tried to come to terms with what happened on Easter Sunday, questions were being asked as to whether security services could have prevented the attack.

The defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, said the culprits were religious extremists but declined to specify further, and no group has directly claimed responsibility yet.

Hundreds of Sri Lankans and at least 30 foreigners including those from the UK, Turkey, Japan, the Netherlands, China, Portugal, Australia and India are among the dead after the coordinated attacks, the worst Sri Lanka has seen since the bloody civil war ended a decade ago.

A British woman and her two children feared to be among the eight UK victims

The Sri Lankan high commissioner to the UK, Manisha Gunasekera, said eight British nationals were killed in the attacks. The UK foreign office has not commented so far.

Anita Nicholson, a 42-year-old lawyer, and her son, Alex, 11, are thought to have died when a suicide bomber detonated his device in the breakfast queue at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo, according to reports. Her husband Ben, 43, is feared to be the only survivor from the family as the couple’s daughter Annabel has not been accounted for, according to the Daily Telegraph.

A Brush with the Terrorist

When Dilip Fernando arrived at St Sebastian’s church in Sri Lanka’s Negombo on Easter Sunday, it was so crowded he went elsewhere for mass. The decision probably saved his life.

Shortly after he left, a massive bomb ripped through the church as worshippers observed the Christian holiday. Dozens died there on a day of carnage that saw at least 290 people killed in eight blasts.

On Monday morning, Fernando returned to the church in the seaside town to see the damage where he and his family narrowly escaped death.

“I usually come to services here,” the 66-year-old retiree said, as around three dozen security personnel stood outside the church.

Sri Lanka explosions: what we know so far

 

 

“Yesterday me and my wife arrived at 7.30am but it was so crowded there was no place for me. I didn’t want to stand so I left and went to another church.”

But seven of Fernando’s extended family including in-laws and his two granddaughters decided to stay, sitting outside because the church was so crowded.

And it was there that they saw a man they believe was the suicide bomber behind the deadly explosion.

 

 Easter Sunday bombings kill nearly 300 in Sri Lanka – video report

“At the end of the mass they saw one young man go into the church in with a heavy bag,” Fernando said. “He touched my granddaughter’s head on the way past. It was the bomber.”

The family wondered why he was entering the church with a mass nearly over, Fernando said, adding that the man had looked to be around 30 and “very young and innocent”, according to his relatives.

“He was not excited or afraid. He was so calm.”

Shortly after the man entered the church, there was a massive blast.

“They heard it and quickly ran away, they were so afraid. They called me immediately to ask if I was inside the church, but by then I was in a different church.”

He said no one in his family had been killed or injured, but that the community had been devastated by the attack.

“I’m so lucky because normally I would go to this church. We are relieved, we were so lucky but we’re really sad for the whole village,” he said. “There are going to be huge funerals in this village soon.”

In Colombo on Sunday morning, Bhanuka Harischandra was running a little late for his meeting. As a car carrying him pulled into the back entrance of the luxury Shangri-La Hotel in Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo, he realized something was wrong.

People were telling him not to come in, that it wasn’t safe. Still, the car pulled around to the front of the hotel and Harischandra saw the aftermath of a bombing. People were being evacuated, others were being dragged. Blood and ambulances were everywhere.

“It was panic mode,” Harischandra, the 24-year-old founder of a tech marketing company, said by telephone later in the day. “I didn’t process it for a while.”

 

The Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo, the location of one of the bombings in Sri Lanka targeting hotels and churches holding Easter services.

 

 The Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo, the location of one of the bombings in Sri Lanka targeting hotels and churches holding Easter services. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

He decided to go to the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, where he thought it would be safe. But just after he was dropped at the luxury hotel and about to enter the building, he heard another bomb go off.

He was evacuated, soot and ash falling on his white sweatshirt.

His car had left, so he hailed a motorised rickshaw and went to meet friends at a coffee shop. There, they contacted other friends, trying to make sure everyone they knew was safe.

Over the course of the day, eight bombs exploded at churches and luxury hotels, killing at least 290 people. The Easter Sunday violence was the deadliest the country has seen since a bloody civil war ended a decade ago.

 

 

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