|Relief and Rehabilitation Desk Newsletter - Appeal
February 17, 2005
[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon]
There is no disaster that cannot become a blessing.
And no blessing that cannot become a disaster…
THE RELIEF AND REHABILITATION DESK
As you may be aware, the Finance Ministry has taken a decision to withdraw duty concessions on freight consignments received on behalf of tsunami victims. Therefore due to the high cost that we would have to incur, we have decided that we will no longer be in a position to accept freight consignments from overseas. We sincerely thank everyone who has already contributed so generously and also all those who may have been in the process of collecting things to send to tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. We are deeply regretful for aninconvenience we may have caused, but we are sure that you will understand the difficult circumstances under which we had to make this decision.
Bishop Duleep and Geetha made another visit to the tsunami-affected regions to show solidarity and also assess the people’s needs at this current moment of time. Most recently, they visited Trincomalee and Hambantota (from the 11th to the 15th of February). Whilst there the Bishop had met with representatives of the fishing community in Hambantota and while in Trincomalee had met with groups involved in trauma counselling in the area. The Bishop also made a visit to the Iranaikerni camp in Trincomalee where he met with refugees. The diocese is now taking steps to help the inhabitants in a number of ways, such as funding the building of more permanent toilets and equipping tradesmen.
As you are aware, last week our update focussed on the work done with regard to the fishing industry. This week we will focus on the setting up of community centres within the camps.
IMPORTANT NEWS UPDATES
President sets March 1st for starting tsunami reconstruction
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga yesterday set March 1 as the commencing date for rebuilding damaged infrastructure in the tsunami hit areas which will follow the signing of the respective MOUs with foreign countries and local and International agencies. President Kumaratunga said a working structure to obtain the contribution from all segment of societies including that of the Provincial Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas will be announced in due course.
Bill to tackle post tsunami scenario
The Government will bring in a Tsunami Disaster (Special Provision) Bill seeking to deal with certain developments that have cropped up in the post tsunami scenario. The Bill will deal with issuance of death certificates, adoption of children and appointment of foster. The Bill would also deal with problems relating to immovable and movable properties destroyed and damaged in the tsunami tragedy.
GCE A/Ls in June
Revising their earlier decision to hold two GCE Advanced Level exams this year in view of the tsunami, the Examinations Department announced that a single exam will be held from June 6 to July 1.
Jaffna tsunami displaced to be relocated mid-March
The Jaffna Government Agent said all families displaced by tsunami in the district and now residing in welfare centers run in public buildings would be relocated in temporary shelters by mid March. Apart from those who live in the welfare centers, 12,902 families displaced by tsunami have turned to their extended.
We have now entered a phase of slow rehabilitation. People have been relocated in transit camps, where they might have to spend the next 6 months to 1 year, some have returned to their villages. The initial shock of the Tsunami will have worn off and people need to now face up to reality and get back to rebuilding their lives as soon as possible.
In this process, it is very important to provide people with a space for relaxation, community recreation and quiet work. This could be provided through the setting up of Welcoming Centres in transit camps/villages.
We envision the Welcoming centre to be a temporary or semi-permanent building that will provide the following facilities:-
RELAXATION AND RECREATION SPACE – The centre should be equipped with daily news papers, a TV, a radio, a few community board games, some books, magazines, toys and maybe tea and biscuits. People should be able to use these resources to relax either on their own or with others in the community.
COUNSELLING - There should be a private space set aside (maybe a room), for counselling services. This will be used either for individual counselling or for group discussions etc…
COMMUNITY FACILITIES – The centre should provide the community with equipment/facilities that are useful to them. For example – it could have 2-3 sewing machines in the premises. It could lend out bicycles, tools etc. to people of the community.
EVENTS/PROGRAMMES – The centre will organise regular programmes that will be of interest or use to the community. Eg – cookery classes, sewing classes, drama workshops etc…
The priests in the regions have started a dialogue with their communities about these centres. There is much interest in this area and we will soon start setting these centres up.
REPORTS FROM CLERGY IN AFFECTED AREAS
The boat repairing programme undertaken by the diocese is underway in the Hambantota area. As of the 15h of February 11 boats and 4 catamarans have been repaired. About 20 boats have now begun putting out to sea on a daily basis. School attendance in the area remains low, but schools have been cleaned up to a large extent. The people in the area are still unhappy about the 100m coastal belt law and are meeting government representatives in an effort to sort out the issue.
Relief work is continuing in affected areas. The boat building workshops are operational and repairs have begun on a number of boats. Counselling services are also continuing, with trained counsellors going into transit camps. Locals who were trained in counselling as befrienders are also taking part in this initiative. Schools, which are located inside the buffer zone and inside affected villages, have still not reopened, prompting students from these schools to travel to nearby villages for educational activities. There is also a great deal of confusion over the 100m buffer zone ruling as authorities have yet to give a clear ruling in this regard.
The Green movement of Sri Lanka has urged all agencies involved in clean up operations in the tsunami affected areas to implement waste management strategies.
The movement said that an alarming trend in the post tsunami recovery process was the unplanned clean up and dumping of rubble in the affected areas. The movement said that the South in particular had recorded many examples of reckless disposal of tsunami debris. It said that the beach in Polhena, Matara was among beaches ruined by careless dumping.
The movement warned that environmentally sensitive areas such as marshland, mangrove and shoreline was degraded physically, aesthetically and biologically by the rubble disposal and could lead to long-term adverse affects on coastal eco systems.
HYMN FOR SRI LANKA
O Father thou hast promised
The isles shall wait for thee
The joyous isles of ocean
The jewels of the sea
Lo we this island’s watchmen
Would give and take no rest
For thus has thou commanded
Till our dear land be blest
Then bless her mighty Father
With blessings needed most
On every verdant village
By every palmy coast
On every soaring mountain
O’er every spreading plain
May all her sons and daughters
Thy righteousness proclaim
Give peace within her borders
‘Twixt man and man goodwill
The love all unsuspicious
The love that works no ill
In loyal lowly service
Let each from other learn
The guardian and the guarded
Till Christ himself return
To Him our land shall listen
To Him our land shall kneel
All rule be on His shoulder
All wrong beneath His heel
O consummation glorious
Which now by faith we sing
Come cast we up the highway
That brings us back the King
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