Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not much justice for some in Sri Lanka

A Mount Albert Corps team is currently in Sri Lanka. Gay sent me a text today expressing her shock at what she found in a visit to the victims of the tsunami. I share Daryl Crowden's report on the visit
Angulan is a community located between the sea, approximately 100 meters away and a tidal lagoon. 40 families, most with small children, have been living in this temporary camp, situated on the local government school grounds for three and a half years.The families in this area have been, and are, in two-room wooden shacks that were built around January 10, 2005. The front room is used as the kitchen and food storage area the back room as the bedroom and living area.When we visited the camp it had been raining heavily: the grounds were muddy and the rubbish had been washed all over the camp. Residents reported being in 8 inches of water over night – and the sanitation overflowing into the living areas.Whilst all have received a grant from the government (two instalments equalling NZ$ 6,250.00) to build a new house; the land that they can afford is over 25km in land – and they are fishermen, dependant on the sea and their boats for the small income they can attract. Going 25km in land, to new areas where there is no power or water supply is not the most appropriate solution for these people, but with an impending forced eviction from the camp, they have few other options.The grant has not been enough to purchase the land and complete the building of houses so some are still living in the shacks, whilst their new house remains incomplete. Others have had enough to complete the house but not to pay for the electrical wiring or connection of mains power.The Salvation Army has been working with this community for two years and during this time has provided funds to aid in the wiring of houses and connection of power. However, the available ‘tsunami’ funds are exhausted and the Angulan camp is not a priority.Despite this lack of funds The Salvation Army is finding funds to help these victims. Each house wiring and connection costs approximately Rs. 28,000.00 (NZ $345.00) and so far they have been able to help a number of families.From funds made available by a donor in New Zealand (members of The Salvation Army Faith Factory in Waitakere) we have been able to accept the application of five more families, and over the next few weeks they will be able to move from this stagnant, smelly ‘temporary’ home into their new houses.Thanks to those that made this possible – it was our privilege to represent you today.
Daryl and the team

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