Sri Lanka

NGOs join forces to assist tsunami survivors in remote Sri Lankan district

Nearly 5,000 families affected by the December 26 tsunamis living in the remote coastal area of Vakarai in eastern Batticaloa district have received much-needed household goods and clothes from World Vision and Care International.
More than 37,000 people benefitted from the donation, including around 10,700 children, said Jeyarahah Jebaraj, the distribution leader for the tsunami relief effort in Batticaloa district.

He said the tsunami affected 16 of the 18 villages that make up the LTTE-controlled Vakarai division.

Local authorities were happy with the joint effort from Care International and World Vision.

"This is the first time these people have received new clothes for their entire family," said K. Thayalan, a village headman.

Care International's project team leader J. B. Pragash said his organisation had been working in Vakarai for three years. Care collected the initial data for the distribution with the help of around 40 CBOs, as well as undertaking the logistical arrangements for the distribution and mobilising the people in the villages.

"Care International is also very happy with World Vision's work through this linkage program, as World Vision worked through CBOs and the people really appreciate that," Pragash said.

Jeevanathan Chandralekha, a 25-year-old mother of three, expressed her gratitude to both World Vision and Care for the donation, which included clothing and a kerosene stove.

"Firewood has been very scarce ever since the tsunami struck. It is a blessing to have a kerosene cooker. We are moving to a temporary shelter so using firewood would be dangerous and a cooker will be a great help," Chandralekha said.

According to government statistics, 314 people lost their lives in Vakarai after the tsunami hit. More than 1,400 homes were destroyed, leaving thousands homeless.

In March, World Vision distributed food rations to 1,187 children in five schools, as part of a World Food Programme (WFP) school feeding program.

Jebaraj said World Vision had already completed construction of over 700 transitional shelters for those displaced, with a further 550 planned.

Report from Harini Dias Bandaranayake - WV Sri Lanka Communications Coordinator

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