|Relief and Rehabilitation Desk Newsletter 3 - Diocese of Colombo
January 17, 2005
Local Circular – No. 3
[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] “One person can only do so much, but together we can make a difference”
The A/L exams will be held on the 20th of April and will go on until the 17th of May
All citizens who have not reported missing friends or relatives must do so immediately to the grama niladhari of the missing persons area of residence or the nearest police station. The reports about missing persons can be made in person, on the phone or via writing.
Found ID Cards
A number of ID cards were found while clearing out the debris of the post office in Galle. A list of the cards is available in the Galle Regional Post office.
The Matara divisional Secretary has appealed for people skilled in Electrical work to offer their services to Matara.
Survey on SMI's
Information will be collected regarding damaged SMI Industries such as textile, handicraft and other related SMI’s. Affected Industrialists must meet with field officers at the relevant divisional secretariat from 9.00am to 5.00pm on January 18th.
REPORTS FROM CLERGY IN AFFECTED AREAS
Refugees continue to inhabit schools in coastal areas, but there are plans to vacate them by Sunday so that these schools will be able to reopen on Monday. Refugees still live in very constrained spaces, with as much as 10 families sharing one classroom in some instances. However steps are being taken to provide tents to families. The health situation is also unsatisfactory, for although there are adequate medicine stocks, there are not enough trained doctors and other personnel. Trauma counselling workshops however are continuing. Urgent needs in the area now are fishing boats, nets, outboard motors etc., which will help the people earn their own livings.
An inter denominational movement called Ruhunu Kithunu Ekamuthuwa has been set up. A number of counselling programmes and activities have been undertaken. A church group – Kids Reach had created an activity book for the children in camps that gave them an outlet for the trauma suffered due to the waves. A street drama to be performed at the camps over the course of this week has also been produced. A problem faced by refugees is the fact that people are being asked to evacuate temples and schools with no suitable alternatives given to them.
Schools in Batticaloa also continue to be used as refugee camps. However they will be evacuated by the 24th so that school can resume. The government has said it will prepare alternate space but they have not announced where. People are in need of tents and food. The British Royal Navy is helping to rebuild bridges in the area.
PROGRAMMES OF THE RELIEF AND REHABILITATION DESK
Tsunami Coordinators – In order to help meet the current surge of work and responsibility, the Diocese will appoint four Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Coordinators to work under the four Archdeacons. The Coordinators will be provided a motorbike, a mobile phone and a monthly allowance for a period of six months. This project is being supported by The Asia Foundation.
Clean Up Camps – The dispatching of 2 weekly interfaith youth teams to help clean up areas affected by the Tsunami continues. Over the last weekend (14th - 16th January) two more teams left for Batticoloa and Hambantota.
FROM THE LOCAL NEWSPAPERS
Sunday Times - The government is to introduce a special law short titled the “Tsunami Law”. It stipulates powers to imprison, confiscate property and impose fines on those responsible for kidnapping, theft and looting.
Sunday Observer – The telecommunications department has been instructed to squash all telephone bills of tidal wave victims up to December 26th.
Iridha Divaina - The Open University Students have set up an initiative to help displaced A/L students by way of giving out tutorials, notes, books etc. Call 0714005767
Sunday Island - Open University Students have formed a task force to help parents relocate missing children. Call Duminda – 0777 417445
Special Report from Ampara
Bishop Duleep de Chickera travelled to Ampara and Hambantota last week to assess the situation there for himself. Recounted below is an experience that the Bishop had and wished to share with you all.
During his visit, Bishop Duleep, along with Rev. Chandran and Rev. Sagara of the Ampara Parish met with the Ven. Thero of the Sri Vidyananda Maha Pirivena of Ampara. The Pirivena is the same one which suffered at the hands of the LTTE at the Arantalawa massacre in 1987, when 32 Samaneras and its chief monk were killed.
In the wake of the tsunami the Pirivena has taken in over a hundred refugees, the majority of whom are Tamils.
Speaking to the Bishop about their decision to take in these people, the chief monk had confessed that it was not an easy one to make. Likewise some of the people in the camp said that they were unsure about what kind of reception they would receive at the temple.
But from this uncertain and tentative beginning a strong relationship has been cemented between the people and the temple authorities.
Not only do the monks give these people a safe place to stay, they have also gone out of the way to ensure that they feel at home.
On Thai pongal day, the monks who knew that the people would be unable to celebrate this festival in the manner they were accustomed to, took the initiative of preparing the “pongal” rice and then distributing it, not only among the people staying on the temple premises, but to all those in surrounding camps in the area.
Apart from this, the monks say that they have now come to consider the people there as family. Indicating a woman in the camp to the Bishop, the monk told him that he now refers to her as “akka”.
Likewise the people residing in the temple told him that they have come to think of the temple as their home
THE TSUNAMI CRISIS
Summary of statistics as of 15th January 2005
Missing persons 6,020
(The Tsunami Task Force has projected the death toll at 38,000)
Displaced Persons 420,259
Displaced Families 84,141
Important Church Contacts
Relief and Rehabilitation Desk - 0114740261, email@example.com
NCC Temporary Relief Unit 0115335276/5335186 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bishop’s Office – 0112 696208, email@example.com
Archdeacon of Colombo 0112-696363, firstname.lastname@example.org
Archdeacon of Galle 0912246064, email@example.com
Archdeacon of Jaffna 0212222270, firstname.lastname@example.org
Archdeacon of N’eliya 057-2232481, email@example.com
Important Phone Numbers
Centre for National Operations (CNO)
CNO Education Desk
CNO Health Desk
CNO NGO Desk