Australia

DFAT confirms an Australian injured in the Sri Lankan attacks

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Australian government agencies are working to find out if any Australians were caught up in the deadly blasts in Sri Lanka.

One Australian has been injured in the bomb blasts that ripped through three churches, three luxury hotels and a guesthouse in the Easter Sunday attacks across Sri Lanka.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it had offered consular assistance to one Australian person injured in the attacks but would not provide further comment. 

DFAT has advised anyone with any concerns for the welfare of family and friends to contact its Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 or +61 2 6261 3305.

"Our hearts go out to the brothers and sisters there in Sri Lanka," Mr Morrison said at a Buddhist temple in Melbourne on Monday.

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Sri Lankan Counsul General on Easter blast
Sri Lankan Counsul General on Easter blast

"We are full of love because love conquers fear. Love conquers evil. Love is the basis of peace and it's what binds us all together as an Australian people.

"But more broadly, as people from all around the world."

Mr Morrison took part in a minute's silence at the temple in memory of the victims, saying it's "an incredibly sad day" for Sri Lanka, a country which has been peaceful for a decade after 30 years of civil war.

Labor leader Bill Shorten described the attacks as devastating.

"We think also of Australia's beloved Sri Lankan community who will carry an immense sense of shock and sadness today," he tweeted on Sunday

Melbourne woman Megan Anderson, who is currently on holiday in Sri Lanka, told the Daily Telegraph many Australian travellers were shaken, and she assumed some were staying at the targeted hotels. 

Police cordon off the area after a explosion hit at St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 21 April 2019.
Police cordon off the area after a explosion hit at St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 21 April 2019.
AAP

“All Aussies here are a little frightened,” she said, as reported by news.com.au.

Ms Anderson is staying at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo with her husband.

“The Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and the Kingston are all five-star resorts on the main drag of Colombo and there will definitely be Australians in those hotels,” she said. 

Sri Lankan police investigate the scene after an explosion hit Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan police investigate the scene after an explosion hit Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
AAP

Twenty-seven foreigners are believed to be among the dead from the blasts at three churches and three hotels: Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel and Cinnamon Grand Colombo.

"The devastating nature of this horrific attack on innocent lives, simply going about their day, going to worship on the holiest of days of the Christian calendar, is just absolutely devastating," Mr Morrison told reporters at
Kirribilli House on Sunday.

"There are many Australians regularly travelling in Sri Lanka and our mission in Colombo will be following through on the safety of those Australians."

The National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia and Grand Imam Mr I. H. Kauser said: “We are all today mourning the loss of innocent lives in the terror attacks that took place in Sri Lanka. We pray for the speedy recovery of all those injured.”

The staff at the mission have been confirmed safe but the information coming out of Colombo is "confused", the Prime Minister said, and it's still unclear if any Australians have been caught up in the six blasts.

"I'm sure the information will become even more sickeningly real," he said, offering his support and prayers to Sri Lankans in Australia and abroad.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is now working to firm up the information as it relates to Australian travellers.

"Following several bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, the Australian High Commission in Colombo is making urgent enquiries with local authorities to determine the welfare of any Australians affected," a DFAT spokeswoman said in a statement to AAP on Sunday.

The spokeswoman said anyone concerned about friends and family in Sri Lanka should contact their loved ones directly and, if that fails, contact DFAT.

Sri Lanka
أهالي ضحايا اعتداءات سرلينكا أمام أحد المستشفيات الأحد
AAP

The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are both receiving briefings from the department.

Mr Shorten said the news was "devastating".

"We think also of Australia's beloved Sri Lankan community who will carry an immense sense of shock and sadness today," he wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks in a country which was at war for decades with Tamil separatists until 2009 during which bomb blasts in the capital were common.

The motivation behind the attack and identity of the attackers remains unclear, Mr Morrison said.

Relatives of a blast victim grieve outside a morgue in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019.
Relatives of a blast victim grieve outside a morgue in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019.
AAP

"Sri Lanka hasn't seen this form of violence since 2009 when hostilities ceased in that country," he said.
"We do know that innocent lives have been stolen once again."

Crowds of hundreds are flooding Colombo hospitals to give blood, Sri Lankan social media accounts showed on Sunday evening. 

Australian Tamils appalled by attacks

The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) has released a statement condemning the attacks carried out on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

"The ATC is saddened at the loss of innocent lives and stands in solidarity with the victims and their loved ones," the statement read.

"Sri Lanka has a long history of religious extremism and perpetrators of religious violence have been known to act with impunity.

"As recent as 27 March 2019 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Bachelet, while underlining the importance of accountability to the people of Sri Lanka, told the UN Human Rights Council that “continuing impunity risks fuelling communal or inter-ethnic violence, and instability”. 

"The ATC calls on Sri Lankan authorities to take act responsibly and genuinely to bring justice to victims, including local and foreign nationals who have perished. 

"The ATC further calls on Sri Lanka to refrain from knee jerk reactions, ensure the human rights of all in the island are respected and prevent any further acts of oppression targeting any particular community which can perpetuate the further divide between communities."

Australians concerned about family or friends should call DFAT's Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 (within Australia) or +61 2 6261 3305 (from overseas).

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