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Sri Lanka Continues Work to Recover from Tsunami
 
CEYLON 050924-2
September 24, 2005

Relief and Rehabilitation Desk Newsletter

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] 


Dear Friends,

Activities pertaining to reconstruction and rehabilitation are being continued in the tsunami affected areas. However this has not been an easy task, especially in the light of problems such as the prevailing confusion over the establishment of a buffer zone in coastal areas. We have provided a short summary of the problem as it stands at present, so that you will be able to obtain a clearer picture of some of the practical considerations we have to face while engaging in relief work.

** The desk is looking into expanding on its counselling programme together with SEDEC – a Roman Catholic Organisation. We are trying to get counselling teams for all our parishes, which is viable since SEDEC has regional offices with which they can cover all areas. A proposal is to be drafted in this regard.

** We have also decided to outsource the accounting of tsunami funds with effect from August 1 2005. We have signed a contract which will be effective for a period of one and a half years.

** We have listed out some of the projects that have been undertaken in tsunami affected areas and also details of projects that have been approved for implementation. This issue’s feature focuses on one of our most successful projects – the twinning programmes between Anglican schools and State Schools in tsunami affected areas.

** We had 3 visitors to the desk during the month of July. Rev. Dennis Robinson and Mr. Glenn Moore from the Diocese of Clogher, Ireland and Gurung Naba from the Primate’s Fund, Anglican Church of Canada. Rev. Robinson and Glen Moore visited the tsunami-affected areas in the South and the East.


Reports from clergy in affected areas

Hambantota

A project to build canoes for fishermen who had lost their boats is underway and 52 canoes were handed over to the beneficiaries in a special ceremony. 50 more canoes are being built. They have now embarked on a project to build 25 flat-bottom fibre glass boats by the end of the year. The boat yard now employs 12 people and the Hambantota parish priest has been commended by the community for his work.

Batticaloa

Two canoe moulds have been made and 50 canoes are being manufactured in Valachchenai. 4 persons were trained in boat building. Season tickets for bus travel were provided to 26 students for a period of one year. Furthermore a temporary shed, fans and tube wells were given to the Dutch Bar Community Refugee camp.

Trincomalee

The camp of Weeranagar has been identified as one that needs help urgently. The church has distributed dry rations to these victims. Four fishing Boats are also expected to be handed over soon. Only one of the four beneficiaries is in possession of an Out Board Motor. The other fishermen need Out Board Motors and fishing gear together with Petromax Lamps. Plans are being made to supply a further 20 Fishing Boats for these Fishermen. The people claim that they have not received allowances granted by Government for the last three months.


Projects undertaken

** It was decided to provide funding to the St. James parish in Egoda Uyana for the purposes of start up projects for those engaged in carpentry, electrical working, fishing, spray painting, sewing and the computer industries.

** Provision of the balance payment of Rs. 1.7 million to the vicar of St. Mary and St. John Nugegoda for the construction of 16 new houses in the East and South and to repair one house.

** The approval of Rs 222,897 to construct temporary toilets in the temporary shed for the boys home in Pallai, Jaffna, which houses tsunami affected boys who are sitting for the GCE Ordinary and Advanced level examinations.

** The task force has decided to contribute a sum of Rs. 1 million to the Central Bank Employees’ trust fund for tsunami affected children. The fund will provide for a total of 30 orphans from the areas of Galle, Matara, Hambantota and Kalmunai. Passbooks are being issued to the children and presently provides 26 of them them with a total of Rs 1500/- to Rs. 2500/- per month depending on the age of the child. The board of trustees has established contact with the children, their guardians, class teachers and school principals. School teachers send regular reports to the trustees as assistance is based strictly on attendance at school.

** Funds of Rs. 37,400/- for the purchase of 44 sets of biology notes for biology students in Killinochchi.

** Funding for Start up projects in the areas of jewellery making, hotel/restaurants, sewing, shop keeping, fishing gear, etc. in the Archdeaconry of Galle.


FEATURE: School Twinning Programme

The school twinning programme is one that sees the “twinning” of an Anglican school in Colombo with a State school in a tsunami affected area. This project was first implemented extremely successfully by Ladies‘ College, Colombo, which has twinned with Madampe Maha Vidyalaya situated in the South.

The students and staff of Ladies College have provided not only material necessities such as stationary to the children, but have also been instrumental in organising a number of joint activities for the students of the schools. The two schools had organised a “poson bakthi gee” event and had celebrated the founders day of Ladies College together. English camps have also been organised for the students of Madampe MV and one of their teachers is being trained to continue with these classes.

Mrs Nirmalee Wickremesinghe, the principal of Ladies College, told us that in addition to this, there were plans to start a herbarium and home science room and also set up a pen pal system between the students of the two schools. Furthermore she said that there are long term plans to reconstruct the science laboratory and redo the primary section of Madampe MV. She said that the response of the students had been overwhelming and immediate, adding that the twinning programme had been an ideal opportunity for her students to help and an incredible learning experience for them all.

* The progress of the other schools in this programme will be published in future Newsletters.


The Buffer Zone

In the aftermath of the tsunami, the government brought in a blanket policy to the effect that any new construction would be prohibited within a zone of 100m from the coastline in the South and 200m in the East. However, due to a great deal of protest by fishermen and other people in these areas, and pressure from international organisations, the government has appointed a presidential select committee to see where and how they can be more flexible in this regard.

In the meantime a great deal of confusion prevails, with no certainty on as to whether people living and/or building in those areas will be evicted as the government has still not made a definite statement in this regard. This has greatly delayed reconstruction work in these areas as people are still waiting to see whether or not they can build in these areas.


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