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Sri Lanka restores social media access after Easter Sunday bombings

by Elida Ketner (2020-04-17)

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Nine explosions devastated Sri Lankan churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.

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The Sri Lankan government restored access to social media nine days after the catastrophic bombings on Easter Sunday, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Following the attacks, the government had shut down social media.

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The militant group ISIS claimed responsibility for bombings of Christian churches and hotels in three cities. The death toll, which was tallied at 321 by April 23, was lowered to 253 by the health ministry on Thursday, according to CNN. 

"Some of the bodies get severely damaged in these kinds of explosions and it's possible for some bodies to get completely destroyed or break into parts, making the identification of full bodies difficult," the ministry told CNN in a statement. "Hence, counting an exact death toll is challenging."

US citizens were among the deceased, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

Bombs exploded in churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and the capital of Colombo at 8:45 a.m. local time, according to officials. The hotels hit include the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand, the Tropical Inn and the Kingsbury. A housing complex in Dematagoda was also bombed.

How to help
Here are a few ways you can help those affected by the bombings in Sri Lanka. Just be wary of any group or person asking for money.

A search for "Sri Lanka" on GoFundMe shows there are at least a dozen campaigns seeking donations. However, none of the campaigns seems to be vetted, so donate with caution. 

American Red Cross is referring to the Sri Lanka Red Cross and the Asia Pacific office of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to help in the aftermath, according to a tweet.   

If you live in Sri Lanka, you can donate blood at your local hospital through the sigiriya sri lanka Lanka National Blood Transfusion Service. The India Times reported that hospitals are seeking blood donations. Here's how to find your closest donation site.

If you have the means, you can travel to Sri Lanka to help those in need. The organization Volunteer Sri Lanka sends international volunteers to teach at schools, care for the elderly, help at hospitals and aid in rebuilding efforts. 

Originally published April 22.
Update, April 23: Includes more details.
Update, April 30: Added update about social media blackout.


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