Here is the full text of the minister's message
"I am pleased to convey this message on the fourth annual commemoration of the National Safety Day. The national commemorative event will be held this morning in Kurunegala under the patronage of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka.
Prompted by the lessons learnt from the Asian tsunami of 2004, the Government introduced a comprehensive system of disaster management supported by a legal framework and institutional arrangements.
Under the system, the emphasis has been shifted from emergency response to prevention and mitigation of disaster risks.
To deal with disaster risks in a scientific and systematic manner, the Disaster Management and Human Rights Ministry formulated a ten-year Road Map for Disaster Risk Management (2005-2015) and drafted a National Disaster Management Policy as well as a National Disaster Management Plan.
The Ministry has put in place a network of multi-hazard warning towers in the coastal belt of the country and 50 such towers are operational.
A 24x7 emergency operation centre capable of coordinating any disaster emergency has been established with all required facilities. Disaster early warning systems have been improved with modern equipment and better linkages with international systems.
We have invested approximately Rs 300 million to mitigate the effects of floods, droughts and landslides and have established district level disaster management units decentralizing disaster management.
In the recent past, we have witnessed humanitarian crises around the world which have been caused by natural disasters.
These occurrences have raised new challenges which all persons involved in disaster management have been called upon to face.
It has become clear that humanitarian responses to disasters demand the integration of human rights dimensions to ensure the most effective interventions in aid of victims, before, during and in the aftermath of natural disasters.
Practitioners must be aware of human rights issues in order to reduce the vulnerability of affected populations and special groups and enable the seamless transition from response to recovery and development. This progression towards normality should also contribute to increased risk reduction and all of the above should take place within a rights-based framework.
Finally, let us use this event five years on from the catastrophic tsunami-not only to contemplate the devastation and tragic losses caused by disasters, but to also reaffirm our commitment to incorporate disaster risk reduction measures into our daily lives and into our homes, schools and communities. Let us together build the culture of resilience and safety in Sri Lanka".