Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Red Cross provides safe drinking water to 2,000 families

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The Red Cross "Safe drinking water" project that benefited 2000 families in new settlements in rural areas in Galle 2 project funded by the French Red Cross through International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was handed over at a closing ceremony held in Galle on 18 th December 2009.

A beneficiary Ms. K.K.R. Kumari of Nelumpokuna ,one of the tsunami housing schemes in Galle District who was overjoyed after receiving access to safe drinking water." We never thought that we will have access to safer water even in five years. Red Cross is the only organization that undertook to find a lasting solution to our water problem. It is worth saying that the Red Cross with our active participation from the initial stage through Community Based Organization in our settlement worked to provide water. We are very happy. The ownership as well as operational and maintenance responsibilities of water supply scheme has been given to us. We do not know how to thank the Red Cross, and have no words to pay our sincere gratitude to them." She further said.

Deputy General Manager (Southern Province) of National Water Supply and Drainage Board Jeyaraj Fernando recollected how the Red Cross Movement and the volunteers and staff of Galle branh of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society came forwarded to help the tsunami victims immediately after the tragedy providing relief specially water. Later the Red Cross granted Rs. 3400 million to provide water and sanitation facilities to the tsunami affected in Galle ,Matara, Ampara, Hambantota, Kalutara and Jaffna districts.

Barry Armstrong of IFRC said the Red Cross always had worked to complete its projects in conformity to quality standards. He emphasized the importance of strengthening Community Based Organizations in these new settlements for the long term benefit of families themselves.

National Secretary of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society S. H. Nimal Kumar said the Red Cross Movements under its tsunami recovery and reconstruction programme in Sri Lanka had spent over 800 million US dollars for the provision of water and sanitation facilities to restore livelihoods, to construct houses, schools and health infrastructures. The important fact is that the entire sum invested by the Red Cross in projects in Sri Lanka was outright grant and not a single cent to repay as in the case of money taken from banks or other institutions. "The Red Cross Tsunami recovery and reconstruction programme in Sri Lanka was a huge contribution to economic development and nation rebuilding efforts in the country." He also said.

Mr. Nimal Kumar further stated that the national society had developed a five year development plan and a new strategic plan taking into account the future its needs as a humanitarian organization. Sri Lanka Red Cross focusing on the current global issues related to climate change and disaster trends in Sri Lanka has taken measures to mitigate and to face them through enhancing community awareness. Under the Community Based Health programme of five year plan activities have been arranged to address the emerging diseases and will implement programmes related to these fields from 2010.

Chairman of SLRCS Galle branch Upali Sirimanne requested the beneficiaries to maintain new water schemes well in order to accommodate the future generation to get benefit of them.

Watsan Delegate of IFRC Camelia Marinescu also addressed the gathering.