Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Report on Relief and Rehabilitation from the Tsunami Tidal Wave 2004 (9)

John's Church
Uranee
Batticaloa
Srilanka

Sept. 9, 2005

Dear Friends,

Greetings from St John's Mission.

With your very valuable support, financial and otherwise, we are able to sustain the relief programmes that we set out to do.  The Tsunami-affected people in some areas are still in want of basic needs and we are able to offer relief to them.

It is very clearly seen that the people are depending more on the NGOs than the Government for emergency as well as permanent relief, because the Government is not doing any appreciable rehabilitation in this part of the country.

FOOD AND OTHER ESSENTIAL ITEMS

We see a slight improvement in the food situation in villages where NGOs are constructing temporary or permanent houses.  This is so because the NGOs employ some of the villagers in the construction work sites and they are able to earn wages.  But in other villages the situation remains almost the same.  We took stock of the situation through a needs assessment programme and distributed around 3000 packages of food items and infant milk food at regular intervals.  We also give fresh vegetables.  Additionally we gave washing and toilet soaps, kerosene oil and other essential items including Kitchen utensils, plates, etc.

WATER AND SANITATION

The quality of the water in the wells we dug is good and not salty.  However, the pre-Tsunami wells still have a low percentage of salinity, though less than before.

However, the overall water and sanitation is quite satisfactory.

CLOTHING AND SHELTER.

We are continuing with the distribution of school uniforms through the schools in almost all the affected areas along the Eastern coastal belt.

The emergency temporary sheds and tents are worn out much faster than we anticipated.  Therefore we realized the urgency to put up transitional shelters and, with the help of our main sponsors and other agencies, we are now nearing completion of 150 transitional houses at Roladai.  This is a village that lies 45 Kilometers to the North of Batticaloa.  At this same site we have commenced construction of 150 Permanent houses alongside the temporary transitional houses that are already built and occupied by people.  In the meantime last week, we commenced the building of 60 permanent houses out of the proposed 300 houses we are going to build at Periyaneelavani, which lies 40 kilometers to the south of Batticaloa.  We are happy to report that we have already handed over 20 houses to the beneficiaries.  At this juncture we are pleased to record that we are the pioneers in completion of permanent houses in Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee districts.  Building of permanent houses involves land clearing, construction of roadways, culverts, drainage and other infrastructure.  Facilities and resources at our disposal are inadequate to go through the entire programme of work that is before us and therefore we would like to appeal for assistance from our friends who are willing to extend their support.

HEALTH EDUCATION AND CHILD CARE

During the period from last report to the date of this report we have conducted 14 Medical clinics in different villages to the north and south of Batticaloa.  At these clinics people with dental, visual, diabetic, hypertension and other chronic ailments were identified and treated while others were referred to local hospital for treatment or investigation.  These clinics were conducted with the assistance of Doctors and Nursing volunteers from USA and New Zealand along with Dr. Dushyanthi who is the daughter of Rev. Dr.S. Jeyanesan.  We are continuing with the supply of exercise books and other stationary items to students whose parents have still not succeeded in generating any income whatsoever.  The students are also given school uniforms and such other requirements.

Our Child Care Ministry goes on unabated as usual.  As some of you are probably aware we have roughly 500 orphans under our care and other 500 in the Day Care Centres as well as the Nutritional Feeding Centres.  By the Lord's Grace and your continuous support we are able to sustain these programmes effectively.  As we reported earlier, some of our Day Care Centres and Nutritional Feeding Centres were razed to the ground by the Tsunami and we are carrying on in temporary structures until we are able to complete construction of permanent building for these purposes.

Some of our main partners who support these ministries such as KNH Germany, Woord en Daad Netherlands, VeAhavta USA and Uniting Church Australia visited some of these orphanages and other centers.

LIVELIHOOD

We are quite saddened by the state of affairs with regard to livelihood problems of the Tsunami victims.  Nothing substantial had been done to solve this problem on a permanent basis.  Of course, cash for work programme are ongoing in certain areas, but this is quite temporary.

We have drawn up plans to offer some sort of permanent livelihood means to people whom we serve in villages like Vaharai, Roladai and Periyaneelavanai.  Crash Mobile Vocational Training programmes are conducted in these and other villages to train the Tsunami victims in Carpentry, Masonry, Electrical, Plumping, Sewing and other trade and at the end of the training, trainees will be provided with basic tools to start working.

Another scheme is to provide canoes and nets for fishing and sewing machines for women folk.  Additionally we are looking at few cottage industries too, such as handlooms, weaving of mats, pottery and the like.

In two villages we have distributed canoes to 90 persons, fishing nets and gears to 75, Carpentry tools to 76, masonry tools 45, and small grocery shop to 44 persons in the Kithul and Morakatanchenai areas.  We have also given tools and implements to labourers also.

NEWS IN BRIEF

MERCY HOME GRACE CARE CENTRE - TRINCOMALEE

The Mercy Home (The Home for destitute elders) at Grace Care Cantre Trincomalee was ceremonially declared open by Mr. Eric Parkinson, Chairman, VeAhavta and Dr. Cheryl Huckins on 29th May 2005.  Around 800 people from various places gathered for this function.

HERMAN'S GIRLS HOME - PERIYANEELAVANAI

We are glad to report that the Herman's Girls Home, that was totally destroyed and razed to the ground by the Tsunami, was relocated and a spacious Girls Home was built.  This was declared open by Mr. Herman van der Weerd, President, Ceylon Christian Care Foundation, Netherlands in association with Mr Wijbren Jongsma on 08 August 2005.

CONCLUSION.

By the Grace of our Almighty God and your continued support, we are able to sustain some of these relief and rehabilitation programmes.

We thank God for His mercies and Thank you all too.

May God Bless you all.

Yours in His Service,

Rev Dr.S.Jeyanesan
Area Minister and Project Director.

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Posted September 9, 2005