(27.09.2011 Colombo, Sri Lanka) “I wish to draw your urgent attention to a matter which causes me great alarm…the continuing suffering of the thousands of peoples living in the North and East, today, mainly due to the unfortunate lack of enthusiasm and disappointing response of the international community to their plight”
This was stated by Jagath Abeysinghe, President of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, in an Appeal to the International community for greater assistance for the reconstruction efforts of the North.
“These communities have faced the traumatic experience of almost twenty-five years of conflict, as well as having borne brunt of natural disaster such as floods,drought and especially the fatal tsunami of 2004, resulting in being uprooted from their homes, in addition to losing their kith and kin and property” pointed out the Red Cross President.
The Sri Lanka Red Cross Appeal also emphasized that it was time for the international community to re -dedicate itself to uplifting the conditions of the affected families in the North, by providing the necessary humanitarian assistance and support to the Sri Lanka to focus on these pressing needs, whilst not diluting their efforts by dwelling on controversial issues of the nature and conduct of the war, best left to the nuanced discussions at appropriate forums.
The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, present in every district of the country, have especially in the North, undauntedly carried out its humanitarian assistance programmes bringing assistance to the civilians battered by such disasters.
There are over 160,000 families in dire need of permanent housing, livelihoods, water and sanitation. The GOSL is engaged in providing the necessary infrastructure for the mammoth post- conflict recovery programme- electricity, roads, housing, education, and health services. But the rebuilding efforts, I need hardly point out, can never be all borne by the limited resources of this country.
Mr. Abeysinghe appealed to the international community to tarry no longer in bringing a new lease of life to these devastated families, as they have done in the past, with magnanimity and kindness.
The Red Cross President reaffirmed the commitment of the Red Cross volunteers to the recovery phase deeply engaged in building houses, providing, livelihoods, water & sanitation and other vital community based activities.