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Tuesday 28 December 2004

Special Coordinating Unit - Sri Lanka

An Emergency Coordinating Unit has been established at the President's Office to expedite relief operations and assist victims of Sunday's tidal waves. This unit will also collate and make available information about those affected, the Office of the President said yesterday.

The Unit can be contacted on 011-2435082, 011-4733531, 011-2437362 and 011-4733427.

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3 Comments Post a Comment
Anonymous Anonymous said :

i put this link in my blog also http://jinath.weblogs.us/.for people who are looking for information about Tsunami
thanks
jinath
http://jinath.weblogs.us/

Tue Dec 28, 09:47:00 PM IST  
Anonymous Anonymous said :

from

http://desimediabitch.blogspot.com/

Where is the aid?
Just go in to office after 36 hours down in the South. Toured Galle, Matara and several outlying towns. The situation is horrific. I would post pictures but I don't have any edited. I am heading back to Tangalle in the next two hours. I don't really have time to type much but I have one question.

Madame President, Mr. Prime Minister - WHERE IS THE AID GOING?

Here is an email appeal I sent out earlier this morning. Please pass it on. People need to know. They have the right to know. Several media factions are destorting the truth. We, as the FREE media, need to correct that. Thank you all, and God Bless Sri Lanka. Hope to blog more upon my return.

Hello All,
This is just to let everyone know the REAL situation prevalent in the
South. I, along with another journalist and photographer went down to
Matara, Galle and other outlying towns yesterday. I just got back a
few hours ago and am heading back down there at 2pm local time today
(28th).

The Television Media (esp STATE RUN TV) is painting a picture a pretty
picture of aid being sent and everything being alright. Yesterday,
more than 36 hours after the first waves hit the south, there was
still NO aid in EITHER Galle or Matara. That means there was nothing.
Zilch.

In Galle at the Cathedral, there were close to 700 people. The Father
there said that locals had provided aid. No government stuff had come
at all. How odd. There were infants who did not have formula milk. Yet
the Government had 'mobilized' every unit under the sun. Hmmm..

Now with all the aid being sent from here, my questions is WHERE is
all that stuff going? So just be careful. My advice is not to send aid
through the State. Villagers near Kamburupitiya (inland from Matara)
said that the Police were pilfering stuff. My advice is to send aid
through Churches, Temples or other religious institutions, where
corruption will be a lot less.

Secondly, despite the lovely picture of 'humanity being helped' that
the State is painting, the south (and I believe the east, we have a
correspondent there who said it's worse off in fact) is very very
badly hit.


In Matara, there were not enough police officers to transfer bodies to
the graves. There were no officers to record the deaths. The hospitals
were barely functional. It is not fun. And the Government, for the
last 36 hours has done JACK. I'm sorry Mr. Prime Minister, but your
seat is suffering the most. What are you doing? There are (or WERE
last evening) 5000 bodies in the Hambantota town. Not moved. 36 hours
after the wave. What is the Government doing?

What about the UN? The ICRC? With all due respect to both
organizations, their presence was not seen or heard in any of the
place we went to. How long does it take a prominent international aid
organization to get down to a danger area? One and a half days? Two?
How long?

So my plea to you is, please, please help. Sri Lanka needs you. We
have never seen destruction like this. Those of you who have already
responded, thanks. To those of you who are still thinking of helping -
please do so. Just get in touch with a religious organization and send
the stuff. Do not trust the state.

If you are going down there, go in groups. People are looting very
badly. Don't travel after dark. If you want to help out here there are
areas where volunteers are wanted very badly - Mattakuliya, Ratmalana
etc. Find out and go. Again, try and work with private / aid /
religious organizations. Sorry GOSL but you really dropped the ball
this time. Don't trust them.

For those of you who were out clubbing Sunday night, here's a
thought. Those clubs could have been hit first, if the wave came
further up the coast. So please, if you want to party, go ahead. But
just put your Sri Lankaness aside.

It's time to come together. It's time to do something. There is a lot
of TALK going around. Lets see how many of us can do something.

Thanks, and God Bless you all,
Mahangu
Free Lance Journalist
POSTED BY LASTNODE AT 11:39 AM | 0 COMMENTS

Neptune scorned
Had a few minutes before heading out to Tangalle again. Just thought I would present some snapshots for the rest of the world to see the real situation in the south. The State run media (if you can even call them media anymore) is presenting a rosy picture of a Government coping well with the issue. Here are snippets from my notebook.

27th November 2004 10:30 AM, Matara Fort / Town
Two men carry a body in from the now calm sea. Hundreds of locals swarm around, trying to identify the boy. Wearing dark blue shorts and a faded red t-shirt, he can't be more than four or five years old. His eyes glazed, he stares at the onlookers. His left skull is fractured, but there is no blood running. The crevice stares ominously at me, a reminder of the untamed power of the sea.

In the Fort, the courts complex is in pieces. Cops stop us as we try to enter the Lawyer's quarters. They're scared as well. Confused. Just orders to sit and guard the place from looters. Former Minister and UNP MP Mahinda Wijesekara's room is gutted, tangled sea weed hanging on his name board. A sign perhaps of the inactiveness of all Politicians. Sure, they're doing something. But, IT'S NOT ENOUGH.

At the Delta, where the river meets the Matara sea, the destructions is bad. "I have nothing left, except this dog," he says, hitching his sarong around his waist as he guides us through the rubble. He shows us his house. Only the foundation is left. "I don't know where my family is, and all I can do is wait," he says. There is no clean water in the area, and the whole village (now only about a dozen people) have only five lunch packets to share among themselves.

At the Matara Cemeterary on the Hakmana road, a Nun is being buried. "Our Sister was in the sanctuary during the morning service when the wave came - she was old and could not run," said another Nun. The deceased nun served at the Our Lady of Matara, which faces the sea. The central statue of the Church was lifted out to sea. "This is the fourth time it has been washed away - the statue came by sea and it was taken by it," say Parioshoners. "We know it will come back."

At the mass graves, we watched as bodies were lifted out of vans. No records of death. Only one Policeman on duty. No law. No order. Just people burying the dead. Body after body. Shovel after shovel.

All along the Galle Road the destruction just made me numb. The media footage delivered by our FREE media brothers and sisters out there tell the truth. But they don't do the real carnage justice. No, not at all. You have to see with your own eyes bodies by the road. Unknown bodies. Stinking so much you feel the need to wretch. You have to see with your own eyes vans stuck on trees. Trawlers on the main road. Broken bridges. You have to see the power of your sea. And you have to be humbled.

Mahangu
Free Lance Journalist
POSTED BY LASTNODE AT 11:46 AM | 0 COMMENTS

Wed Dec 29, 03:05:00 AM IST  
Anonymous Anonymous said :

more up to date info on conditions there please as i intent to try to get a bit of relief to mirissa for people I know there.I'm thinking of doing it in a couple of weekd .peolple there have sai that right now its not needed??
Q1 is the back road from colombo to matara useable
Q2 Looting. would we get through.We'd be in a mini van & were foriegners.
Q3 if this is not a good idea please advise
can reply to baronvonnzubb@hotmail.com if u like
cheers

Fri Dec 31, 05:18:00 AM IST