Sri Lankan authorities say there is no truth in the recent rumor of a tsunami threat to the island and request public not to create panic unnecessarily.
Rumors that the fishermen have caught a certain sea snake-like species is a sign of an impending tsunami is completely false, the Marine Environment Protection Authority says.
Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara, General Manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority says the species caught by the fishermen Navaladi area in Batticaloa are not sea snakes but a species of eels.
The Authority said the incident is a natural occurrence and there is no truth in the rumor that a tsunami is developing.
A tendency of spreading false news that there is a risk of tsunami and cyclonic winds has been observed in the social media lately.
Last month a rumor of a tsunami hitting Mullaitivu district has prompted the businessmen in the area to close their businesses, BBC Sinhala service reported.
A fake news that a cyclone with 120 mph winds will blow away Galle district was spread through the social media when the inclement weather experienced in the area recently.
Following that some have identified the catching of sea species in Batticaloa as a precursor to a tsunami.
The Disaster Management Center (DMC) said there was no truth in the tsunami threat spreading through the Panadura area yesterday.
Speaking to BBC Sinhala Service, Deputy Director of DMC Pradeep Kodippili said the rumors could be an attempt to scare the people and get them out of their homes.
He pointed out that making people fearful based on a suspicious situation may cause another calamity.
The DMC says it is important to enlighten the public to know the signs of a real tsunami threat and the procedures the authorities will use to inform the public in such a situation.
According to the DMC, for a tsunami to occur there should be an earthquake in the sea bed.
When there is a tsunami treat from an earthquake, International Tsunami Warning Centers will inform the Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology and the Disaster Management Center.
The authorities will inform the public through tsunami warning towers, media, tri-forces and police and communication networks, village level communication networks including Grama Niladharis, and SMS.
The official said the Disaster Management Center and the Department of Meteorology are monitoring impending weather situations round the clock 24 hours a day and requested the public to rely on the official announcements
. The DMC Deputy Director said the tsunami warning centers across the island can be operated from Colombo within short time of 1-2 minutes.
He also said that the Met Department, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau and the Department of Irrigation are receiving the data on the cyclone or floods very quickly.
The hotlines 117, 0112136136 and 0112670002 are open 24 hours a day for the public to confirm an impending disaster.
According to the DMC, if there is an earthquake in Indonesian region people have a time of about 11/2 – 2 hours to evacuate and 4 hours if there is an earthquake in the ocean region below Oman.
The Deputy Director of the Disaster Management Center requests the public to prepare a “tsunami bag” for their use. The tsunami bag should include official documents, medicine, a radio and a flash light.
The Official said a tsunami can happen at any moment and there is no way to predict an earthquake or a tsunami a week or two before. Therefore, it is better to be prepared and to know what procedures to take in such a situation, he said requesting the public not to rely on false news spread through social media.