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Category Archives: Tsunami Coverage

Three months later: “show us the money”

How much aid has come into Sri Lanka? How has it been used? December 26th may seem like a long time ago to some, but –heck, it’s 90 days- not if you are living in temporary shelter, or have lost your husband or a child.

A new political blog, Dheshapalana, operated by a journalist, keeps this topic alive. He/she (who for now seems to want to remain anonymous) reminds TAFREN ( The ‘Task Force to Rebuild the Nation’) about

the right of the citizenry to know how much money Sri Lanka has received. So what is the standing figure? Where is the money going? These, undoubtedly, are common questions on the minds of many.

I am glad that people are asking the uncomfortable questions. The time will come when the internatonal community will want accountability; the country cannot aford to squander the goodwill it received, because of the bureaucratic bungling of a few. There are hundreds of government and non-governmental organizations operating relief programs, and the media will be doing a great service by keeping the pressure up.

It’s about time writers and blogs like Dheshapalana began focusing on the politics of tsunami relief, now that the warm, fuzzy stories have been covered. As the site pleads:

stop lamenting; there’s no time like the present moment – out with the figures please! This is a democracy – the people need to know!

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Posted by on March 28, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Water purification and Proctor & Gamble

Wsj_march05 Check this Wall Street Journal article on how a P&G unit is helping tsunami affected areas in Sri Lanka. Apart form the focus of the article –a marketing angle– the picture speaks volumes about how those with more problems than market share.

The story is about a ‘doctor,’ a bucket and a purification powder, and how it’s being put to the test in a refugee center in Galle. In the picture is Mohamed Irshad and his family.

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Posted by on March 15, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Water purification and Proctor & Gamble

Wsj_march05 Check this Wall Street Journal article on how a P&G unit is helping tsunami affected areas in Sri Lanka. Apart form the focus of the article –a marketing angle– the picture speaks volumes about how those with more problems than market share.

The story is about a ‘doctor,’ a bucket and a purification powder, and how it’s being put to the test in a refugee center in Galle. In the picture is Mohamed Irshad and his family.

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Posted by on March 15, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Water purification and Proctor & Gamble

Wsj_march05 Check this Wall Street Journal article on how a P&G unit is helping tsunami affected areas in Sri Lanka. Apart form the focus of the article –a marketing angle– the picture speaks volumes about how those with more problems than market share.

The story is about a ‘doctor,’ a bucket and a purification powder, and how it’s being put to the test in a refugee center in Galle. In the picture is Mohamed Irshad and his family.

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Posted by on March 15, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Fast Company article

Fc_march05 Check this article in Fast Company, (the March 05 issue) about AFLAC, and a chap called Mevan Jayawardena, from Australia, who hapened to be in Sri Lanka in December.

Amazing story because his parents founded AFLAC (stands for Association for Light a Candle.) Also because, as he puts it in the article, there is a lot of unity, and people are always finding novel solutions around problems..

"Sometimes our work feels like driving on a freeway. When we approach a slow truck, we switch lanes to another project until that lane clears. Then we go along until that lane backs up, and switch again."

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Posted by on March 9, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

The ‘Art’ of tsunami relief

Rail_7 This is a story worth doing. While there are plenty of stories being told about isolated spots where relief isn’t reaching fast enough, there are the stories of those quiet workers continuing to reach out to the victims.

Two stories here. The first is about a Sri Lankan from Ireland, Chandra, who started a massive and effective fund raising campaign there. Together with his friend Suresh they have managed to provide 25  fiber glass boats with outboard motors, 10 smaller catamarans, all equipped with nets, to the fishermen of the Beruwala area.

Here is Joey Caspersz’ account of what he sees in the south:

I must mention that the authorities are moving, albeit at a slower pace. the rail track is repaired and trains are now running on the southern line. roads are open and electricity is, by and large, reconnected to most towns and villages. food is being supplied to the camps on a regular basis. tents have been organized for those whose houses have been demolished. sea walls are being raised on the southern road to galle. all this within a two month period is not too bad for speed in our part of the world. but its far from what is required and needed.

Speaking of rail tracks, here is the 2nd story:

Rail "Rail" the art exhibition and event at a Colombo railway station is a project of the creative folk at advertising agencies.

I will post the pictures in a separate area soon. Stay tuned.

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Posted by on March 8, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Ad Agencies’ tsumani fund raiser in Colombo

Rail’, a fund raiser by ad agencies in Colombo, was held at Slave Island Railway Station on Wednesday the 23rd Feb, raised Rs 2.5 million toward the profiling of children displaced by the tsuanmi in Sri Lanka.

The event will continue today at 6 pm. Mike Masilamai writes to say that there is more to it than the auction –including live performances such as mime shows, a second-hand book sale, and sale of postcards and photographs etc. This event was the first, hosted by AdAid, an outfit created by a group representing advertsing agencies such as DDB Needham, O&M, McCann-Erickson, JWT, Bates, and several others.

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Posted by on February 26, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Yala: The Tsunami as a ‘Catalyst’

This morning, NPR (National Public Radio) aired a story by reporter Elizabeth Arnold, covering the ecological impact of the tsunami in Sri Lanka. Amazing insight, in true NPR style, with great audio.

The story is from Yala, with a National Geographic expedition, and is full of neat insights into how ecologists are assessing the damage. One scientist, Sanjayan Muthulingam of the Nature Conservancy, observes that he can hardly call this ‘damage’ since the trees seem to have absorbed the impact, and actually started recovering. Get the background here., and the audio version of the broadcast here. (If you cannot get the audio, pick it up from the link on the NPR page)

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Posted by on February 25, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Ceylinco promotes ‘Tsunami Lending’ concept

“The poor person is a better credit risk than the rich person.”

The Ceylinco group, and Lalith Kotelawela are front page news in a story y’day (Feb 17, 2005) in the Wall Street Journal.

The story, “In Sri Lanka, loans take on key role in disaster relief” is about the tragedy of disaster victims having to go after lenders when there’s over one billion dollars in aid that has been pledged. Also it says that the government is messing with aid flow saying it will get its hands on the Tigers. Trust CBKs government to do all the bad PR Sri Lanka never needs! And it’s not just a PR thing. Messing with funds eventually means messing with victims and lives. People don’t forget these things. Of course, the private sector, inevitably scores points every time the government screws up.

Kotelawala is described in the WSJ article as “better known –and seems better trusted—than most politicians here." The ‘lending’ he’s doing is a form of micro-lending, with Ceylinco’s connection with the Grameen Bank. There’s no collateral involved, and that means a slim chance of recovery, should borrowers default. “The poor person is a better credit risk than the rich person.” Kotelawala is quoted as saying.

No surprise there. His philanthropy, risk taking, and simple charm is what makes him the Richard Branson of Sri Lanka. No minister in the government, let alone the top rung, has an ounce of his humanity and charisma.

It’s an amazing story, about how Ceylinco ran ads asking for tsunami victims to come to them for help, and the company going out on the road with 100 managers to provide instant credit.

In an unrelated article, in LMD, the Sarvodaya head, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, praises the private sector, saying he is traditionally not its cheerleader.

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Posted by on February 18, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 

Tsunami stories you won’t see on the news.

Here’s what I mean by yesterday’s post on UNICEF, of there being a lot that is falling through the cracks in tsunami relief. You won’t see these stories in the Wall Street Journal or on TV. Why? Because there is no sensational component, here.

There’s an ‘ocean of work to be done’ says Joey Caspersz, who’s privately heading what one may call a task force of two, providing relief and supplies to schools in Trincolmalee.

"As at today and speaking for Trincomalee, not much of mid and long term help appears to be reaching those in need of it," he says.

So here is what Mr. Caspersz and his colleague Bala Wimaladass are doing. They are providing shoes to children in afected areas, as they go back to school. Hats off to what he is tirelessly doing over in Sri Lanka.

Number of pairs of shoes for                Girls            Boys       Total
St Mary’s College                                   148             0             148 
KM Sri Koneswara Hindu College             0            106            106
Methodist Girls College                           63              0              63 
Sri Shamnuga Hindu Ladies Colgl             70             0               70
Total                                                     281      106                387      
The next order of 378 pairs of shoes from Ceylon Leather Products Limited (CPL) is  scheduled for delivery to the Trincomalee area schools around the 21st of February 2005. Also will be added 765 pairs of socks.

Chasing after funds, visiting these schools and making those trips to the East coast is something Joey does on top of his normal work in insurance.

And we think we wear many hats!

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Posted by on February 10, 2005 in Tsunami Coverage

 
 
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