|Relief and Rehabilitation Desk Newsletter 4 [Local]
January 20, 2005
Local Circular – No. 4
[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] “‘The sea that sustained us took everything from us’ — this comment from a fisherman applies to people too. Both have the potential for nourishment and destruction.”
- Bishop Duleep de Chickera
THE RELIEF AND REHABILITATION DESK
Relief and Rehabilitation Coordinator, Jaffna – Mr. Raguraj has begun work in this capacity. One of his main tasks is to make frequent visits to Tsunami affected areas that are not accessible through phone in order to gather information needed for rehabilitation programmes.
Fishing Industry Programmes – The desk is hoping to initiate a program to help fishermen resume their livelihood as soon as possible. Links with a fishing community in Hambontota, have been established. We are also in dialogue with the Ministry for Fisheries so as to implement a wider scale fishing rehabilitation programme.
Clean Up Camps – Two more shramadana teams set out this weekend to Hambantota, Batticoloa and Trincomalee to help with the clearing of rubble and debris.
IMPORTANT NEWS UPDATES
BASL Tsunami Desk
The Bar Association has established a tsunami legal assistance desk. Contact the bar association of Sri Lanka on Tel – 0112 447138/ 0112 331697 or fax – 0112 448090.
Free Legal Help
The Legal Aid Commission has said that it will give free legal help on matters such as reclaiming lost land deeds, Problems with regard to land and capital, destroyed property, debts, mortgages, leasing, higher purchase schemes, Pension of deceased family members, Compensation, obtaining lost birth, death, marriage and educational certificates, becoming eligible for adoption, If Insured how to get insurance claims. Their offices are in the Galle Court Complex, Hambantota Chief Ministers Office Kachcheri Hambantota, and the Ampara Court Complex.
Registration required for adopting children
The Probation and Child care Services Authority has said that it is illegal for anyone (including relatives) to take in any displaced children under the age of 20. Anyone doing so should register themselves at the main Probation and Child care Services Authority office situated at No.150, 2nd floor ALHP Building on the Nawala Nugegoda Road, Its Provincial Authorities or to the Child Rights Officer at the Provincial Secretariat.
The Examinations Dept will hold a separate GCE Advanced level exam for those children who were affected by the tsunami. The students must prove their case by submitting a letter certified by the Grama Niladhari of their area through the school principal. This certificate should be endorsed by the provincial secretary.
Coastal Protected zones 100m in South, 200m in North-East
No construction or renovations will be allowed to buildings in these zones. The government said that the reason for the extended area in the North and East was because of the higher population density in this area.
Professional Sun certified Java Professional Association has organized a training camp to assist students affected by the tsunami. Those interested must contact the association at the Distance Learning Center, 28/10 Malalasekara Mw, Col 7, tel:2559328
Aid Pilfering The Ministry of Government Administration and Internal Affairs have asked people to call 2898428, 5362978 or 0773 023813 if they have any complaints regarding misuse of relief goods by either state officials or other individuals.
REPORTS FROM CLERGY IN AFFECTED AREAS
The only refugee camp in Hambantota is at the mosque. Most people have either put up tents where their houses stood, or have moved in with relatives. The fishing community are unhappy with government plans to move Hambantota town further inland. They firmly believe that there is no threat of another tsunami occurring for at least 2000 years. There is a need for trauma counselling .
Schools in the region have reopened but there is very low attendance. Most of the children who survived the tsunami are being accommodated at relatives houses further inland.
People from Uduthurai which suffered a large number of casualties in the Northern region have been forced to vacate the Pala Maha vidyalaya where they were housed. They have moved to the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Uduthurai and are currently occupying a parish hall, which however has no roof. The church has received a grant with which they have set up some temporary sheds and also hope to rebuild the roof of the hall.
FROM THE LOCAL NEWSPAPERS
Sunday Observer – The Telecommunications Department has been instructed to squash all telephone bills of the tidal wave victims up to December 26, 2004.
Daily News - The Govt. will commence rebuilding on Jan 19th with the launching of a housing schemes in Hambantota.
Daily News - The Govt. has decided to grant immediate aid to the to owners of small and large scale businesses, in the form of support loans up to a maximum Rs.5 million. The Govt. has also decided to waive all loan installments with their interest component obtained by these industrialists for a year. A 6% annual interest will be charged after the second year.
Daily News - All outstanding electricity, telephone and water bills will be written off, and a Rs.5000 monthly allowance will be given to each family, as well as provision of household equipment.
REPORT FROM BATTICALOA – REV. CHANDRAN CRISPUS
Ever since the tsunami struck Rev. Chandran Crispus has been at the forefront of relief operations in the Batticaloa district.
Speaking to us about his experiences, Fr. Crispus said that although the tragedy has caused a great sense of loss, there have been many positive developments as well. People of different castes, classes and religions have set aside their differences in an effort to rebuild their community.
This fact is clearly demonstrated through the reaction of the people in the towns of Valachchanei and Oddmavadai. There was great friction between the Tamil and Muslim Communities in both towns. In a recent incident fifteen people had been killed and over 50 shops had been torched in communal clashes. This led to segregation so complete that even the bus halts used were different.
When the wave struck however, Fr. Crispus says that it had been the Muslim people who gave the Tamils in the area their first meals. In addition to this, members of both communities had unhesitatingly accommodated members of the other in their schools and places of worship. Likewise, a group of Muslim youth had been actively involved in the burials of victims from both communities.
There is a theory that whilst man-made disasters polarise communities, natural disasters bring them together. Rev. Crispus’ reflection bears testament to this.
THE TSUNAMI CRISIS
Summary of statistics as of 18th January 2005
Missing persons 5,565
Displaced Persons 437,482
Displaced Families 84,612
(From the Centre for National Operations website)
Important Church Contacts
Relief and Rehabilitation Desk - 0114740261, firstname.lastname@example.org
NCC Temporary Relief Unit 0115335276/5335186 email@example.com
Bishop’s Office – 0112 696208, firstname.lastname@example.org
Archdeacon of Colombo 0112-696363, email@example.com
Archdeacon of Galle 0912246064, firstname.lastname@example.org
Archdeacon of Jaffna 0212222270, email@example.com
Archdeacon of N’eliya 057-2232481, firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Phone Numbers
Centre for National Operations (CNO)
CNO Education Desk
CNO Health Desk
CNO NGO Desk
2898428, 5362978, 0773 023813