TRO USA Press Release 12/29/04

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
M. Sritharan
Secretary, Tamil Rehabilitation Organization
517 Old Town Road, Cumberland MD 21502, USA
sree@webpci.com
(301) 320 6344
http://www.trousa.org


Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, USA Appeals for Urgent Help for Tsunami Victims in Northeastern Sri Lanka

Cumberland, MD - December 29, 2004 -- Northeastern Sri Lanka is one of the worst affected areas from the Dec. 26 Tsunami.  The death toll there now has reached 7,660 and is expected to increase. About eleven thousand has been admitted to hospital with injuries. Nearly half million people are displaced. People of Northeastern Sri Lanka, who were affected the most by two decades of civil war in Sri Lanka, have been left with no resources to cope with this unprecedented death and destruction.

The northeastern coastline areas that took the brunt of the Tsunami in Sri Lanka are remote and predominantly within rebel-held territories. The local reports from independent news organizations and social welfare organizations indicate that no external help has reached the affected area yet. The New York Times reported that Lalith Weerathunga, Secretary to the Prime Minister, who is now heading the relief efforts in Sri Lanka, stated that he does not know what is going on in the northeast. The Associated Press today reported, citing international relief agency sources, that Sri Lankan government officials have blocked passage of relief supplies. Much of the international aid that is being poured into Sri Lanka is expected to be channeled through the Government of Sri Lanka and past experience suggests very little will reach the NorthEast. 

A member of the Sri Lankan parliament accused the Sri Lankan government of "callously ignoring" the plights of the people in Northeast.

Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, USA is working with local organizations in Sri Lanka including the Sri Lankan charity TRO to provide urgent relief work. Hundreds of temporary shelters have been set up by TRO and urgent medical supplies are being dispatched. Team of volunteer doctors is arriving in NorthEast within next few days. As much of the immediate medical and other relief supplies are available in local market, monetary donations are most useful in the short term.

We appeal the American community to generously contribute to our Tsunami Relief Fund as well as by donating medical and other essential supplies. Items that are needed urgently include:

1. Medical supplies (Pain relievers, Antibiotics, Dressings, Suture material, Disposable syringes)
2. Water purification tablets
3. Temporary shelters
4. Portable generators

TRO officials and board of directors are available for interviews with the media. Please use the contact information above for scheduling.

About Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, USA:

Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, USA was formed at the height of civil war in 1995 to help
civilians affected by the war in Sri Lanka. The organization has funded various rehabilitation projects in the Northeastern Sri Lanka through local charities and other social organizations, including orphanages and a home for the elderly.  Tamil Rehabilitation Organization is a US IRS-approved 501(c)3 charitable organization.

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Posted December 29, 2004