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Category Archives: Tsunami Coverage

Fullbright Scholar from US works in tsunami relief ops

Relief_7 Lest we forget the truly amazing stories, I encourage you to please post your own here. Or email me here. I have 2 today:

A health club in California RoughFit is planning to collect money for the four families affected along the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. 

A Fulbright scholar Jeremy Gantz (from Cape Cod, Mass.) who had been in Sri lanka, is reportedly involved in relief work.

For the past three months he had been studying the history of Sri Lankan education and its connection to colonial and post-colonial political and economic developments! He had been on holiday in Thailand when the tsunami struck and he says “I felt fairly hedonistic on holiday in Thailand after learning of the tsunami… so flew back to Sri Lanka to help with the relief effort; my research feels very unimportant now”.

This was reported on the Relief For Sri Lanka blog, maintained by the Colombo Rotary Club.

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Posted by on January 12, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Report from Ampara — on Thursday Jan 6th

Ampara I have been getting mixed messages from people on visiting hard hit areas in the south and east. One of them –reinforced by some CNN coverage– is that Sri Lankans are coping well with the recovery and rellief efforts. I think there are different stories, and stories within stories, that the media cannot adequately get out, so before you make up your mind, read this from Ravi Ratnapala, a senior manager at Finlays, Colombo, who writes on a visit to Ampara and Kalmiunai. Rationing of food, shortages, monsoon rains etc make it still a very grim picture –at least as of last Thursday. Here is his story (with my emphasis).
Having left Colombo at 4.00am we reached Ampara at 7.00pm. This after we had problems with one of the vehicles along the way. The same evening we unloaded the supplies consigned to Ampara which did not appear to be badly hit. The next morning with the help of Sarvodaya we reached Kalmunai around 10.00 am. What we saw in Kalmunai was total devastation. The pictures tell the story. I have a movie which is too large to e.mail

In the Ampara District there are about 125 camps and Sarvodaya has taken over about 25 camps. There are supposed to be over 400,000 people in the camps in Ampara Distric alone. We visited a camp giving shelter to about 850 people and also visited the Ampara and Kalmunai Hospitals with medical supplies. The disposable surgical gowns (about 100) which we gave Kalmunai Hospital was most appreciated by them. Surgery at the Kalmunai Hospital has just recommenced.  The doctors appealed for water purification tablets as the water in the hospital is contaminated and fresh water supplies are limited. I think this is the same all over in the country and we should get some help from overseas if possible.

The approach road to the Sarvodaya Center in Kalmunai (washed away) was so bad that we had to stop the lorry and carry the supplies into the center. Infact the sea water had come into the Center in Kalmunai

Sarvodaya will be issung a coupon to the people in the camps and they will be given a weekly ration. The next big step is to get them back to the settlements. We left the eastern coast minutes ahead of flood waters as a result of the monsoon rains which had begun in the area.

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Posted by on January 10, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Harendra Fernando to study tsunami

HarendraArizona State University’s Professor Harendra Fernando went to Sri Lanka yesterday with a large research team from the U.S. to study the tsunami and refinine a model that will predict what parts of the country a tsunami would affect most.

See William Herman’s article "Prof takes expertise to disaster site" in the Arizona Republic of Sunday, Jan 9th, 2005.

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Posted by on January 10, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Israel and Sri Lanka

Israeli_aid Rabbi Robert Kravitz, the Excutive Director of the American Jewish Commitee in Arizona said something that must put the popular misconception about Israeli aid being refused by Sri Lanka to rest.

He said that aid was never refused, and showed us a newspaper, the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, which had it as a front page story. Check it out here. The story shows the picture on the left, of the Israeli army handing over aid to the Sri Lankan army. We build walls and rules in our world, he observed, but there are times when we must defy these rules and break down these walls, because we all belong to one human family.

Rabb Kravitz spoke at an inter-faith service for the family of Lal Fernando, a businessman in Arizona, whose wife lost several members of her family in Hambantota.

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Posted by on January 8, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Pictures of Sri Lanka tragedy

Ice cream I have had several pictures sent to me from people visiting the area and have to hold back several. These are just too grotesque to be published. Also, they bring up another issue voiced by a victim who said this (in a story sent me from Tyronne Paiva)

They talk as though they do everything here. Many people come here; they just take photographs, but we don’t get anything,” said Ramzan Mohideen, a man in a Muslim cap and gown who lost his jewelry business.

The story was about a visit by US senators to the southern region.

The picture above (via Andrew Samuel,) is particularly tragic -and not too graphic. An ice cream truck on the east coast.

Kalutara_digitalglobe_2This one, via DigitalGlobe, shows the tsunami on the South west coast of Kalutara –the area populated by several beach resorts, including Tangerine beach hotel.

Satellite_after

Another, shows the wave receding.

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Posted by on January 6, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Random acts of kindness, on a large scale

On Saturday –New Year’s Day– I rode in a large truck pulling a trailer loaded with some 40 boxes of donations from friends and family contacts in Arizona.

Mesdrive6tn It all happened in a few days. Day 1: Tanu had made a few calls. I sent off a few emails. Sri Lanka Delight, the restaurant in LA (referred by the locals as the ‘Kade’) had said we could send a few boxes in a container leaving in a few days. Perhaps, we thought 3 big boxes wouldn’t be too expensive if we sent it via Fedex. But this was not to be. Day 2: People started arriving at our home dropping off boxes and large black bags of stuff, cans of food, bags of medicine, cases of infant formula, packs feeding bottles etc –so much so that we had to park our cars outside the garage. The fedex option was now out of the question.

Day 3: someone –in this amazing friend-of-a-friend network— came forward saying they had been praying for Sri Lanka and wondered how they could help. The husband had just got a new job at Microsoft. They offered to drive us in a huge Ford F250 with a trailer if we needed. We jumped at it, and continued to stack the garage.

Day 4: A TV station came a calling. Tanu refused to be on camera. We tried telling Channel 12 this was futile as the real story was all about them in Sri Lanka, and not about us. But if you know how the evening news works you know they want the sob story. I do appreciate their concern, but they stole a goood 2 hours of the day I had taken off from work. Packing and sorting takes time. ASU students come to help. A vendor nearby offered empty boxes. My British friend and his stepfather from 2 house up the street left their dinner to help us stack the boxes on the truck.

Mesadrive9tn Day 5: 6.30 am, Don and Barbara Hiatt arrive at 6.30 am. The I-10 freeway is terribly foggy; they begin to pray we get there safely. I call my cousin Tania’s husband (and fellow Peterite) Chari, who offers to come and help us unload the truck and trailer. In 6 hours, we are in Tarzana, a town in the San Fernando valley. Ahead of us was a Uhaul from the Buddhist temple in LA, with guys and even Buddhist priests loading up the container. Behind us pull up about 2 other large trucks waiting for space.

The giving hasn’t subsided. A doctor came by twice to our house with some antibiotics and portable water purification units. He had somehow got my email forwarded to him. This morning, a dentist called saying they can help, too. Every one wants to help. The bank branch I go to, the Starbucks round the corner, my former boss at work leaves an envelope in my drawer, my sister’s boss wants to chip in, my corporate office, a magazine I write for, a printer, all pledge.

I have always believed, that in spite of the dark cloud hanging over us right now, there are tons of positive stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Not just in this country, but everywhere. Anyone who for a moment believes the rot put out in the media that America is being stingy, please speak to me. I am sure there are similar stories out there too. At least 2 people wrote to me from the UK, via this blog, saying they want to a contact in SL because someone is going over for relief work.

Sri Lanka may be one of the unluckiest countries on earth to be smitten by a tsunami just when the war had eased up. But God does work in marvelous ways, and I am optimistic that we will someday lift up our heads again.

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Posted by on January 3, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Arugam Bay Blogger

There is a very interesting site at www.arugambay.com. It was once a site promoting the area (called the official site of the abay association -a sort of a take off on the ebay name) that had the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka. Now, there is someone blogging on the site. If you want to see how the international effort is shaping up on  the east coast, check it out. Here is an excerpt:

07. 30 am : Good news !! French soldiers landed with several helicopters at Arugam Bay. They already build a medical center, teaching local army what to do and so on. Most people in the missing list without description are alive !!! I try to send all names from missing people for exact informations. Please be passioned. Several generators for electricity and all needed is working already. Food, drinking water and medical suplies is no problem at all anymore.

Please be sorry for my broken english. No experience in the last few years in writing. !!! More informations soon !!!\

——–

Sean McKay (on Dec 31st) wanted to contact someone on route to Sri Lanka. Contact him at this email address.

            ———-

Disregard Esther B’s request below:
She has contacted someone in Colombo

Can someone help these relief worker?
Esther Burley (on Jan 1st) wrote today about her uncle visiting Arugam Bay for relief work:

My uncle Richard will be travelling to Colombo then on to Arugam within the next few days (from England). Richard has lived and worked in the Eastern Provinces for the past 15 years mainly in the Pottuvil/ Arugam Bay area. He has considerable experience in dealing in situations like these (for theUN in Timor in 2000) and has great local knowlege. He already has water purification tablets, face masks, rubber gloves and is desperate to find out what else is needed and if anything can be obtained from Aid Agencies in or near Colombo. He would also like to know what is the best way to get Arugam from Colombo.

Contact her at eburley@btinternet.com

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Posted by on January 2, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Ogilvy O&M relief efforts

STILL IN SHORT SUPPLY   (Dec 3oth 2004)

Shirani Saunders informs us that Water purification tablets are in short supply. See below: I spoke with the team that did go…………..consisted of 5 lorries & 17 double cabs taking tonnes of supplies. 6 doctors went along & will set up camp there. They had about 5 lakhs worth of medicines but the direst need is water purification tablets. Cos its impracticle to carry clean water all that distance & its never going to be enough. If there is any issue at customs bringing in the water purification tablets pl. give us a call & we can clear it without any duty etc. (it should be allowed but just in case) If there is excess cash the next items are pillows/rubber slippers which can be purchased from here. If there r any other big items that people want to send they can container it & we will clear it without any cost from this end as even warehousing has been arranged free of charge. ok. If you need to speak to her call her on hr mobile, at 94 773 088 705

Refugee situation in Hendala

Shirani Saunders, not a reporter by any means files this story from Tewatte on Dec29th. By day she is a ‘business development manager’ at Phoenix Ogilvy & Mather advertising. As we hear every day, people have literally left their offices, to go out and do whatever needs to be done. This is just one person operating almost like an NGO.

Hi Angelo,

Yesterday evening i was able to go to Tewatte where there are about 10,000
people – displaced/evacuees from the Negombo/Hendala area.I spoke to a
mother who was trying in vain to discover the whereabouts of her husband.
Just that morning she had manged to locate her 2 children who had been at
another centre but the last she saw of her husband(who is a fisherman) was
him watching his boat shatter on the shore.

We took bed sheets/plastic sheeting & medicines like Piriton/Paracetomol &
bandages etc. There was some sense of organising as many volunteers from
the church were seen distributing stuff. The church is full with refugees
and the surrounding rubber plantaion is also packed with families camp
style with basic plastic sheeting roofs – its really heartbreaking to see
little children put to sleep on plastic sheets out on the grass – theres a
shortage of mats here. Food seems to be available as once again there are
people bringing in boxes of cooked food to be distributed. Its amazing how
much the average ‘ not very well off ‘person is contributing to this
effort. Because really no big money has reached any of these places (yet)
its the average citizen  who is rallying round for the moment.

Our next effort is directed towards collecting medicines/dry rations to be
taken to Pottuvil – a private group is organising a little convoy to go to
the Lahugala nature reserve where evacuees from the arugam bay/Pottuvil
area are being sheltered. At least 10 of us from office will be joining. I
‘ not sure if you’ve been to Arugam Bay? We have holidayed there ever so
often & apparantly none of the guest houses/the fishing
village/roads/bridges are standing – its like a wasteland of mud & debris.
The four wheel club was there yesterday & one of the guys called in with
this infor – they ‘ve been helping with the evacuvation of people marooned
in the jungles of Panama – extreme tip -  south-east of the island.

Shirani Saunders

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2004 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Ogilvy O&M relief efforts

STILL IN SHORT SUPPLY   (Dec 3oth 2004)

Shirani Saunders informs us that Water purification tablets are in short supply. See below: I spoke with the team that did go…………..consisted of 5 lorries & 17 double cabs taking tonnes of supplies. 6 doctors went along & will set up camp there. They had about 5 lakhs worth of medicines but the direst need is water purification tablets. Cos its impracticle to carry clean water all that distance & its never going to be enough. If there is any issue at customs bringing in the water purification tablets pl. give us a call & we can clear it without any duty etc. (it should be allowed but just in case) If there is excess cash the next items are pillows/rubber slippers which can be purchased from here. If there r any other big items that people want to send they can container it & we will clear it without any cost from this end as even warehousing has been arranged free of charge. ok. If you need to speak to her call her on hr mobile, at 94 773 088 705

Refugee situation in Hendala

Shirani Saunders, not a reporter by any means files this story from Tewatte on Dec29th. By day she is a ‘business development manager’ at Phoenix Ogilvy & Mather advertising. As we hear every day, people have literally left their offices, to go out and do whatever needs to be done. This is just one person operating almost like an NGO.

Hi Angelo,

Yesterday evening i was able to go to Tewatte where there are about 10,000
people – displaced/evacuees from the Negombo/Hendala area.I spoke to a
mother who was trying in vain to discover the whereabouts of her husband.
Just that morning she had manged to locate her 2 children who had been at
another centre but the last she saw of her husband(who is a fisherman) was
him watching his boat shatter on the shore.

We took bed sheets/plastic sheeting & medicines like Piriton/Paracetomol &
bandages etc. There was some sense of organising as many volunteers from
the church were seen distributing stuff. The church is full with refugees
and the surrounding rubber plantaion is also packed with families camp
style with basic plastic sheeting roofs – its really heartbreaking to see
little children put to sleep on plastic sheets out on the grass – theres a
shortage of mats here. Food seems to be available as once again there are
people bringing in boxes of cooked food to be distributed. Its amazing how
much the average ‘ not very well off ‘person is contributing to this
effort. Because really no big money has reached any of these places (yet)
its the average citizen  who is rallying round for the moment.

Our next effort is directed towards collecting medicines/dry rations to be
taken to Pottuvil – a private group is organising a little convoy to go to
the Lahugala nature reserve where evacuees from the arugam bay/Pottuvil
area are being sheltered. At least 10 of us from office will be joining. I
‘ not sure if you’ve been to Arugam Bay? We have holidayed there ever so
often & apparantly none of the guest houses/the fishing
village/roads/bridges are standing – its like a wasteland of mud & debris.
The four wheel club was there yesterday & one of the guys called in with
this infor – they ‘ve been helping with the evacuvation of people marooned
in the jungles of Panama – extreme tip -  south-east of the island.

Shirani Saunders

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 29, 2004 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Ogilvy O&M relief efforts

STILL IN SHORT SUPPLY   (Dec 3oth 2004)

Shirani Saunders informs us that Water purification tablets are in short supply. See below: I spoke with the team that did go…………..consisted of 5 lorries & 17 double cabs taking tonnes of supplies. 6 doctors went along & will set up camp there. They had about 5 lakhs worth of medicines but the direst need is water purification tablets. Cos its impracticle to carry clean water all that distance & its never going to be enough. If there is any issue at customs bringing in the water purification tablets pl. give us a call & we can clear it without any duty etc. (it should be allowed but just in case) If there is excess cash the next items are pillows/rubber slippers which can be purchased from here. If there r any other big items that people want to send they can container it & we will clear it without any cost from this end as even warehousing has been arranged free of charge. ok. If you need to speak to her call her on hr mobile, at 94 773 088 705

Refugee situation in Hendala

Shirani Saunders, not a reporter by any means files this story from Tewatte on Dec29th. By day she is a ‘business development manager’ at Phoenix Ogilvy & Mather advertising. As we hear every day, people have literally left their offices, to go out and do whatever needs to be done. This is just one person operating almost like an NGO.

Hi Angelo,

Yesterday evening i was able to go to Tewatte where there are about 10,000
people – displaced/evacuees from the Negombo/Hendala area.I spoke to a
mother who was trying in vain to discover the whereabouts of her husband.
Just that morning she had manged to locate her 2 children who had been at
another centre but the last she saw of her husband(who is a fisherman) was
him watching his boat shatter on the shore.

We took bed sheets/plastic sheeting & medicines like Piriton/Paracetomol &
bandages etc. There was some sense of organising as many volunteers from
the church were seen distributing stuff. The church is full with refugees
and the surrounding rubber plantaion is also packed with families camp
style with basic plastic sheeting roofs – its really heartbreaking to see
little children put to sleep on plastic sheets out on the grass – theres a
shortage of mats here. Food seems to be available as once again there are
people bringing in boxes of cooked food to be distributed. Its amazing how
much the average ‘ not very well off ‘person is contributing to this
effort. Because really no big money has reached any of these places (yet)
its the average citizen  who is rallying round for the moment.

Our next effort is directed towards collecting medicines/dry rations to be
taken to Pottuvil – a private group is organising a little convoy to go to
the Lahugala nature reserve where evacuees from the arugam bay/Pottuvil
area are being sheltered. At least 10 of us from office will be joining. I
‘ not sure if you’ve been to Arugam Bay? We have holidayed there ever so
often & apparantly none of the guest houses/the fishing
village/roads/bridges are standing – its like a wasteland of mud & debris.
The four wheel club was there yesterday & one of the guys called in with
this infor – they ‘ve been helping with the evacuvation of people marooned
in the jungles of Panama – extreme tip -  south-east of the island.

Shirani Saunders

Read the rest of this entry »

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2004 in Tsunami Coverage

 
 
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