Monday, December 27, 2004

Tsunami: Update from Sri Lanka

UPDATE: The ASA secretariat received the email from the YMCA Sri Lanka about the situation after the tidal wave on Sunday. Chrisantha Hettiaratchi, National General Secretary, said:

Sri Lanka plunged into crisis of most unexpected tidal waves that
lashed the Northern, Southern and Eastern Coast on Sunday 25th December, 2004
morning. The day was just after Christmas and most Sri Lankan were on relaxing
mood until the tidal waves took off total villages in the coastal areas. The
waves were so horrifying that people are explaining as the movie "Day After
Tomorrow" As some of the waves had been as tall as 50 feet.

Media reports as of now, convey that there are deaths over 4,900 and over 2000
people reported missing. Over 1.5 mn people are affected and are being sheltered
at schools and places of worship. The Government has declared a state of
National Disaster and have requested International support and assistance to
help the affected people.

Sri Lanka YMCAs and its Membership are
mostly affected as 20 of the 38 Member YMCAs are situated in coastal areas. We
are at present trying to build up contacts with our members and well wishers of
their safety. Most of the buildings are affected and most YMCAs cannot be
contacted due to breakdown of telecommunication. We have declared
most YMCAs as Relief Collection and distributing centres and have appealed
to our members, friends to donate dry rations and clothing. As of now, we are
happy to state that YMCA leaders have contributed a load of dry rations for
distribution through YMCAs. Today we are distributing relief to closer YMCAs and
we intend visiting South and East, moment we hear the areas are motarable.
We seek your prayers for those who passed away and those who lost their
belongings and livelihood.