Tsunami relief and reconstruction in Sri Lanka
REPORT ON RELIEF AND SERVICES TIDAL WAVES 2004 - No 2.
We are happy to give you another update on our emergency rescue and relief operations in the Eastern region.
The Government today announced that the death toll has risen to 31000. But according to the other agencies it will be about 40000 or more.
I am glad to report that food and clothing truck has arrived in Periyaneelavanai yesterday 31st December 2004. Distribution is being done, which will be a great relief to the villagers. The survivors couldn't run to other places because they were trapped.
Ours is the first consignment, which reached the village. It took 17 hours to reach there through various ways. I am glad that they had gone. As you know Periyaneelavanai, Thuraineelavanai, Kallaru, are land locked because of all the roads reaching these villages are breached.
Today a team of people tries to reach Periyaneelavanai again to stay, give support, start cleaning and putting things correct at Boys Home Samuel and also support the villages with relief measures.
The rains and the floods have sub merged many roads in Eastern parts of our Country.
We couldn't go there.
We tried many ways unfortunately we could not reach there. The boat riders said the water is so fast they will not go into it. We have to return. On the way we distributed the clothes and the food we took with us for Periyaneelavanai in two refugee camps in Kurukkalmadam and Kaluwanchikudy.
CLEARING THE BODIES FROM DEBRIS
Our search for bodies are continuing. There are heavy rains for the last two days, which tampered our efforts. Our community and I are very grateful to the Staff and Students of St John's VTC. They are our great resource at this time of crisis. I do not think at this juncture any other equipment will help us. This programme cannot be postponed because of the urgency.
CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION:
Well cleaning is also under way. We have drained and cleaned 46 wells. The necessary high-powered pumps and equipments are already purchased.
OPERATION IN TRINCOMALEE
Food lories reached Trincomalee this evening. We also dispatched plastic roofing and cloths packets to Trinco. These items will be distributed in Uppuveli, Nelavali, Kenniya and Kanniya.
"Grace Care Center" restoration work is already commenced. We were housing 102 orphans girls in the Home, 92 Children in the Day Care Center, 68 Youth in the Vocational Training Center and a programme for 75 Widows.
A new complex, which was under construction for 100 destitute elders, is also damaged.
Our mobile Medical unit and the Staff stationed at "Grace Care Center" is working over time in the villages.
We are happy to report that six doctors have arrived from USA this morning in Colombo. They will be driven to Trinco today and they will be based at Grace Care Center at Uppuveli. They will join the team of our mobile unit and start their clinics from tomorrow onwards.
There are two doctors coming from Australia to St. John's Batticaloa tonight. They will join the team with the General Hospital in Batticaloa and help the victims. Medicines and other equipments are ready at St. John's.
We will continuously supply medicines to the clinics and the Hospitals. Even in normal times the Government Hospitals do no get some important medicines.
SHELTER AND CLOTHING
As it is continuously raining roofing sheets are the immediate requirements for the families. These are not readily available in the market. We are only using the thick polythene sheets as a emergency measure. Also we are mending the coconut leaves and supplying as roofing.
We are ready to plan for the next face of our action. We have to consider some temporary housing and job support. That means we need to provide temporary housing and purchase nets and other fishing equipments for the fisherman, so that they can start earning for their livelihood.
We need educational materials, uniforms, schoolbooks and exercise books for the Children to start with their studies. Other wise parents may not send their Children to Schools.
The loss of life and the properties are so great and valuable. What we do comparatively is very little.
It is our earnest prayer that our good Lord will grant all of us the strength and wisdom to continue with this tremendous task on His behalf. to which we have been Created and call for.
Rev S Jeyanesan, St John's Center
Manager/ Parish Priest. Uranee,
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Grace is a missionary who serves with Jaffna Diocese (Sri Lanka) of the Church of South India. She teaches English at Jaffna College and also works with the Uduvil Girls' School, where she works in the women's training programs, which includes teaching English & tutoring women and working with women's empowerment groups.