"Have I not wept for the one whose life is hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy? Job30:25
Preparing to help
When the rains wreaked havoc with floods and landslides in Sri Lanka – the opportunity to use the comprehensive training on Disaster Risk Management undertaken over the past years came in useful. The Diocese through its Board of Social Responsibility (BSR) had a ‘Preparedness Plan for Responding to Disasters’. The BSR activated this Plan and initiated systematic and coordinated humanitarian assistance in the Regions. A Central Operation Team (COT) was brought together to plan, coordinate and monitor
the humanitarian assistance delivered through the Regional BSRs and Parishes at the local level. Teams trained in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) were dispatched frequently to assess the situation and needs so that the COT could make well informed decisions based on the immediate ground reality. What the Teams found was that the general public, TV Stations, Corporates and NGOs were working closely with the Government Divisional Secretariats and the Armed forces on rescue operations and providing immediate relief by way of cooked food and dry rations and items that were immediately required. Where required the BSR assisted in this task with contributions made by children of the schools run by our Diocese and our parishioners and focused on areas which seemed to have been missed by the major relief operations underway. The BSR has been able to assist 338 families in Mulleriyawa, Orugodawatha, Dandugama, Gampaha, Urubokke, Chilaw and Puttalam with items such as Dry Rations, Toiletries, Water, Basic Medicines, Clothes, Gumboots and Water Purification tablets.
Our Focus is long term Recovery and Resettlement
The focus of the BSR was identified as preparing to assist in long term recovery and resettlement once the water has receded and the hype has died down and people begin to build their lives out of the huge piles of debris – which once was their home. Assessment Teams were therefore deployed to Gampaha, Chilaw, Puttalam, Dandugama and Urubokke to assess the situations and identify the emerging needs. Based on their findings the BSR has decided to concentrate on Health and Hygiene, Cooking Utensils, Bedding, School Stationary and House repairs.
We were encouraged and are deeply grateful for the solidarity visit from the representatives from ‘ACROSS’ (Anglican-Crisis-Relief-Outreach-&-Support-Singapore) attached to the Diocese of Singapore. They were able to visit the affected areas and contributed in helping people who suffered.
We were overwhelmed with the immense goodwill among our church members and those of other faiths and those of no faith in responding to this crisis and thank all who contributed in kind, monetary and volunteerism.