Date: 02 Sep 2005
Eric Schwartz, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery began a ten-day assessment mission in Sri Lanka and Indonesia on 31 August. Mr. Schwartz who was appointed to replace Mr. Erskine Bowles as Former President Bill Clinton’s deputy by the Secretary General in August will see first-hand the impact the tsunami has had on people’s lives, gauge the current status of the recovery effort and explore additional ways to support the efforts of governments and civil society in the reconstruction process. Schwartz who arrived in Sri Lanka 2 September is consulting with a wide range of partners- including government officials, United Nations agencies, civil society groups and the business community. He will specifically focus on issues such as the launch of the online financial tracking system --- Development Assistance Database, shelter, livelihoods and suitable timber sourcing.
Main challenges and response
The government of China donated a further US$ 6,174,897 towards tsunami relief activities in Sri Lanka, which is in addition to the same amount donated by China in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami.
Save the Children in Sri Lanka’s Feeding programme for over 1,200 tsunami-affected children got underway in Ampara. SCiSL also recently completed 100 shelters in Ampara and another 50 more are to be built.
On 31 August, more than 100 tsunami-affected young people took part in a workshop in Kalutara aimed at helping them find employment and avoid falling victim to trafficking, HIV/AIDS and other dangers. Participants received packs of playing cards with information on HIV/AIDS in English, Sinhala and Tamil, produced with funding from USAID and the Government of Japan. The workshop was organized after field workers in IOM camps and transitional housing sites reported that many young people, aged from 16 to 22 years old, were neither employed nor enrolled in formal education, thereby making them more susceptible to various risks. Operation Phoenix, a not-for-profit organisation founded in New Zealand is embarking on a project in Hikkaduwa to provide the division its first Emergency Ambulance Service. It has provided assistance to tsunami-affected communities in the form of medical aid, permanent housing, well-cleaning, sanitation blocks, planting of coconut trees, and other relief work in the emergency phase mostly in the area of Hikkaduwa Division, Galle District and Batticaloa District. The ambulance programme has been well received by the local residents and volunteer community as a whole, and has been approved by the local authorities and commencement of the service is planned for October 10, 2005. The service will work in conjunction with the state teaching hospital, Karapitiya Hospital, in Galle District.
Water and sanitation
The Water & Sanitation (Watsan) Working Group in Galle District is identify the watsan needs in the transitional shelter sites through the provision of watsan surveys and mapping of water supply/ tank locations with GPS coordinates. This mapping programme, which will take between four and eight weeks, is the collaborative work of the Watsan Working Group, in particular UNICEF, CHF, World Vision, Project Galle 2005 and the Humanitarian Information Centre (HIC).
Non-food items and shelter
All housing needs in Bentota division, the least tsunami-affected area in Galle district are now complete. The first site for permanent housing construction is in Nelunpokunagama Site Number 1, where 40 single-story houses have been constructed and new home-owners have been residing there for a little over a month. The houses were built by the Sri Lanka Fund from the Lankarama Buddhist Vihara on two acres of state-owned land. Nelunpokunagama Site 2 and 3 have ten single-storey houses in the final stages of construction by the Bentota Buddhist Service Association. Twelve single-storey houses are also being built by an organization called Only One World in Galtuduwa.In Ampara, SCiSL has given 1,144 yards of shirt/frock and 711 meters of shorts/trouser material to tailors for school uniforms, distributed 217 mosquito nets, 20 plastic sheets and 19 bicycles to pre school teachers in Jaffna.The Government’s Damage Assessment Team inspected 6,741 tsunami-damaged houses in the Galle district which reside beyond the 100 meter buffer zone. They determined 1,921 houses to be fully damaged and 4,769 houses as partially damaged. A total of 6,690 houses are eligible for compensation. One hundred shelters were completed by SCiSL and handed-over to beneficiaries on 31 August 2005 in Ampara district. Banks in Galle district disbursed 4,596 grants for a first installment of Rs. 50,000 each and five grants for a second installment of Rs.50,000. There is an outstanding payment of 173 grants on the first installment and 4,364 grants on the second installment for partially damaged houses beyond the 100 meter buffer zone
SWOAD, a SCiSL partner, has purchased 100 chairs, three water tanks, three first aid boxes, three closets, three clocks and 25 tables for pre schools in Ampara. Save the Children in Sri Lanka distributed 9837 pairs of school shoes to 26 schools in Ampara.People in Peril, an NGO that has built permanent housing in Deliwata in the South coordinating with Save the Children in Sri Lanka is seeking its expertise in child involvement and children’s rights to make these new communities child friendly.In an effort to strengthen the local capacity of pre-school teachers SCiSL held a training programme for 35 zonal education staff in Ampara on 26 August with a focus on the psycho-social aspect of teaching pre-school children. Furthermore, 21 bicycles were donated to Pre School teachers in Jaffna and out of 25 new temporary pre schools to be built in Trincomalee three have been completed and handed over to the community.In an attempt to build social harmony and create an environment of peace Save the Children has established five huts in Batticaloa where children can gather and partake in activities such as gardening and the YMCA Batticaloa facilitates evening classes for slow learners, club meetings, book readings, cultural performances and field officer visits to schools and families.The National Library and Documentation Services Council has taken steps to publish a series of books motivated to inspire and foster the morals of children affected by the tsunami to strengthen their character in order to better face and overcome challenges in life. The Council expects to publish 15 such books under its Tsunami Children’s Books Publication Project, seven in Sinhala, five in Tamil and three in English.
GTZ along with SCiSL conducted a career guidance programme at a Sarvodaya training centre in Sathurukondan in which 21 children including 18 former underage recruits and their parents participated. The parents welcomed the initiative to guide their children and the opportunity afforded for vocational training through GTZ which is working to affiliate the endeavour with the Government Technical College.One million rupees provided to the Rotary Club of Nikaweratiya by its UK based Rotary Club was utilized to hand over 30 rafts to tsunami-affected fishermen in Negombo
Save the Children in Sri Lanka held a four-day capacity building workshop titled “How to approach children with special needs and how to integrate them into the community” as support to the Inyavalvuz Illam School for the differently abled children in KilinochchiSave the children organized a children’s retreat 25 through 28 August in Matara --- “Tear to Tear- Building bridges beyond borders” which was an opportunity for children who lost parents or siblings, and for adults who lost children to the tsunami or other traumas to meet, share experiences and build communication networks. Teenagers from the southern region are tasked with keeping the network alive and will be guided by Save the Children
After we paid for our kids 2004 gymnastics summer camp we found it tough to recover! I totally agree with you!