Friday, January 28, 2005

Tsunami song receives positive reviews in the UK

Daily News, Colombo, Sri Lanka
27th January 2005

The Tsunami Song written by one of Sri Lanka's greatest singers/songwriters, Nimal Mendis has received positive reviews in the UK even before it has been recorded in London.

People from all over the world - including the UK - have been e-mailing Nimal Mendis following the publicity in the Sri Lankan newspapers about his heartfelt composition. Nimal was in the forefront of the world of popular music in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s and was on many a music tv program including BBC Television's 'Top of the Pops.'

The English version of Nimal Mendis' song 'Tsunami' has already been recorded in Australia by brothers Rohan and Nalin Jayawardena. They hope to cover the Sinhala version later on this year. Nimal wanted the Sinhala version by Varadatta Aravinda to come out first in Sri Lanka. They decided to record the English version for their many fans in Australia and abroad as the song is generating much interest and publicity. Proceeds from the song will go to the victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka.

Vocals and orchestration was performed by Rohan and the 32 track digitalised recording was by Nalin, in their own studio in Perth. Rohan was accompanied by Minali Gamage in Vocals.

Mendis is still looking for a British sponsor to record the song in London. He hopes that a British company would come forward to support the song - every penny will go to the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka through the President's Fund. A call has now gone out to British companies doing business with the island to support Nimal Mendis.

He hopes to fly down to Colombo to record the song - Band Aid style with a number of top Sri Lankan artistes - many have contacted him in France requesting to join a group to sing his composition.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Seva Vanitha launches SOS Appeal in the United Kingdom

The Seva Vanitha Unit, the welfare organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched an appeal to collect funds towards the children's village in Komari in the wake of the tsunami disaster in Sri Lanka.

The appeal was launched by Ameena Musthapha, President, Seva Vanitha UK branch based at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London. Mrs Ameena Musthapha is the wife of the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the Court of St. James.

The Seva Vanitha branch has appealed to the vast Sri Lankan community in the United Kingdom, to support the children's village through raising much needed funds for SOS the reputed organisation.

Mrs. Ameena Musthapha wrote: 'As you are aware, consequent to the tsunami disaster, there has been wide scale death, injuries, devastation and homelessness caused in Sri Lanka. Children are amongst those who are worst affected.'

The Seva Vanitha Unit, the welfare organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched an appeal to collect funds towards the children's village in Komari on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka.

This children's village will be managed by SOS, a highly reputable international organisation, devoted to uplift the welfare of needy children.

Sri Lankans wishing to contribute to the Seva Vanitha Appeal have been asked to contact the Sri Lanka High Commission in London on Tel: 0207 262 1841 Fax: 0207 262 7970. The High Commission is situated at 13 Hyde Park Gardens, London W2 with Lancaster Gate as the nearest London Underground station.

A Letter from the Seva Vanitha Unit of Ministry of Foreign Affairs detailing exactly what SOS plan for the Children's Village in Komari was also released in the United Kingdom:

SOS villages are set up to care for orphaned children, while providing them with a normal family atmosphere. The SOS village in Komari, in the Eastern province, for tsunami affected children will include children from all ethnic communities.

The SOS village in Komari will have approximately 10 houses. Each house will accommodate 10 children under the care of a 'mother' who would be in charge of them.

The estimated cost of a house in the SOS village in Komari will be approximately Rs. 3 million; i.e. the cost of building, supply of water, electricity, furniture etc. The Seva Vanitha Unit of the Foreign Ministry envisages to contribute towards the building of houses in the Komari village for children.

The estimated cost to establish the SOS village in Komari is Rs. 150 million.

Meanwhile a large scale tsunami relief concert takes place at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on Saturday January 23. The special fund-raising event, which will feature many of the UK's best known and loved bands, is aimed at raising Sterling Pounds 1m for stricken families in south-east Asia.

There will be space for up to 60,000 fans to join the party in the Welsh capital and they will be able to enjoy more than six hours of top flight entertainment and join the rest of the world in raising money for those left with so little after the tsunami disaster on Boxing Day.

Every Sterling Pounds 100 raised, will buy a tent in which a displaced family can live or pays for emergency food parcels to feed 60 families for one month; Sterling Pounds 30 will buy enough water purification tablets to give 320 children a litre each; Sterling Pounds 25 will buy plastic shelter and food parcels for two families for two weeks; Sterling Pounds 15 will buy a hot meal for 125 people in emergency feeding centres.

The tsunami left almost 150,000 dead, more than one third of which were children, and at least five million people without food and water. It is estimated that around three million are homeless. Profits from the concert will go to the DEC's Tsunami Appeal Fund.

It was not known whether any Sri Lankan musicians were to participate in this major event to help the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka and other nations in the region - there was a call for the Tsunami Song released by Sri Lanka's outstanding singer/songwriter Nimal Mendis to be played at the Tsunami Relief Concert in Cardiff. His composition has provoked huge interest in the United Kingdom and around the world.

Amid the Ruin and Sorrow in Sri Lanka, the Reservoir of Kindness Remains

Published in the USA: January 16, 2005

WOMEN shrieking and what sounded like the roar of a freight train awakened me. I jumped out of bed and ran to the balcony door of our second-floor guest room to see water - filled with wood and cars and pieces of twisted metal - swirling below us.

Damika,the owner of the inn, and some of his family had run up the stairs to our balcony. I looked over their shoulders at the rising waves and went cold with fear. I shouted to Kate, my friend and travel partner, who was getting ready to go to the beach, to grab her money belt, and then rushed back to watch the sea escalate to the bottom of our balcony in an agonizingly prolonged 20 seconds.

It was 9:25 a.m. on Dec. 26 and we were in Unawatuna, a beach town in southern Sri Lanka. A few minutes earlier, it had been clear and calm. Kate's decision to take her morning walk on the beach a half-hour later than usual was one of many fateful choices that we had made or that had been made for us. Ultimately, Damika's decision to give us a room on the second floor instead of the ground floor was what saved us.

Many days later, we would learn that the series of tsunamis unleashed by an underwater earthquake off the shore of Sumatra had taken the lives of more than 150,000, including more than 30,000 in Sri Lanka. But on the morning of Dec. 26, there was no explanation for the relentlessly rising sea. Eventually it slowed, then stopped, and there was silence. Almost instantly, it was replaced by screams. Everywhere I looked, people were scrambling onto any high surface they could find - rooftops or balconies.

Paul, an Englishman who was sleeping in the room below us, swam out of his room. We hauled him onto the balcony. A young Sri Lankan woman splashed up to the stairs shouting: "My grandmother. I let go of her hand." Damika was banging his chest and sobbing, "My father, my brother, my uncle ..." A British teenager, who was in shock, and screaming "My mum, my dad, my sister, my 8-week-old brother!" was dragged over the railing. He had lacerations all over his body, and his clothes were torn and muddy. We tried to console him, but each second brought new screams of terror.

Now I realize that the strange calm I felt at the time was shock. The scene outside had become increasingly more terrifying, more surreal. The water was slowly receding, but now buildings were starting to collapse around us, and the noise brought fresh waves of panic. Half of Damika's house, right in front of our balcony, came crashing down. Would our building be next? The mantra I repeated to myself would continue for the next four days: "I want to go home. I want to see my family. I don't want to die."

Below us, the water was teeming with all the objects that once held so much importance: televisions, furniture, cars, shoes. Life was the only thing that mattered now, and people were screaming out for the ones who had lost it.

Suddenly, the sister and mother of the British boy appeared on the balcony of the guesthouse next door. They were overjoyed to see each other alive, but their father and baby brother, it seemed, were still missing. At that moment, the father shouted from the ground floor of our guesthouse. He was holding the limp baby in his arms. I yelled down, "Give the baby C.P.R.! Give the baby C.P.R.!" but neither he nor his wife was able to do anything other than stroke the motionless bundle.

I furiously tried to remember the infant C.P.R. lesson I had been given by my friend shortly before I left. Three fingers and cover the mouth and nose to give mouth-to-mouth were all I could remember. But it was too late. Quietly, the mother took her baby up to the balcony and cradled him to her breast. I walked back upstairs to our room and threw my soggy money belt on the bed.

Shouts in Sinhalese from the neighbors across the > way brought us to our feet, and to the balcony door again. Someone had seen another wave coming. That was it. "We're going to die here," I told Kate. I thought of my mother having the same look as those around us - inconsolable sorrow.

There was nothing we could do but wait. After an interminable hour of intensely watching the receding water, we saw dry patches of ground. Kate and I decided to leave. We packed a small backpack for survival: bottled water, flashlight, water purification tablets, extra socks. My other belongings were left behind.

We plowed through the thigh-deep, debris-filled water toward an undamaged hotel on the hill. The journey took no more than 15 minutes, but each second brought jolts of fear that another surge of water was about to strike. The hotel was filled with people in varying states of shock and despair. Everyone had stories, stories that on their own would be chilling almost beyond belief. Together, they created a portrait of sorrow in surreal proportions.

We wanted to be higher still, and, with the help of a local man, Raja,
struggled up the cliff behind the hotel. Raja told us that the entire bay had
emptied of water; the sea had withdrawn and was no longer visible. Halfway up, we heard shouts from below and then the dreaded sound that I still listen for. It was the sound of the ocean as it pelted its entire being, once again, onto the battered shore, traveling farther inland as there was less resistance from the fallen buildings. We ran, stumbling, over logs and up embankments, through the jungle, helping the injured and shocked, to get to higher ground. At the top, we turned and watched the sea enfold the once sleepy tourist-filled village. Only the palm trees were visible.

The village at the top had not been physically affected by the water, but grief was everywhere. People, dressed only in tattered bathing suits or wet pajamas, were dazedly walking around asking if others had seen their wife, daughter, husband, aunt. How could any of us get through the next minutes, hours, days or years?

Together. That is how. We survived the trauma of this disaster because we had the generosity and hospitality of the Sri Lankans. Every family in the village took in tourists for the three days we had to wait before we were evacuated. They shared their meager belongings, their limited food and their precious water. They, who had nothing and had lost much, gave everything. Forty of us slept on mats outside the home of a family who came around at regular intervals with sugary tea, bananas and coconuts. They cooked us dinner for two nights. They let us drink water out of their well. They slept beside us to protect us from possible looters. Only one person spoke English, a man named Siri, who had owned a bar and restaurant on the beach. He had lost his business, his home and a nephew, yet he never stopped looking out for us.

We gave all our extra money, water purification tablets, clothing, antibiotics, malarial medication and shoes to Siri and his family, and also to Damika when we saw him on the day of our evacuation. By then, Damika had already buried three members of his family. He now stood in the only clothes he had, waiting with us for an hour until our bus arrived to take us away, to safety.

Since I will not return to my job as a teacher at Valley Stream South High School on Long Island until September, I plan to drive around the United States, visit schools and do presentations on my experience, which revealed the generosity of a people who live in a country that many Americans cannot even find on a map.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Thrishana Pothupitiya on 'The Power of Humanity'

The power of humanity

16 year old Thrishana Pothupitiya of Bishop's College Colombo writes about the tsunami which devastated her island home.

(Published in the Daily News, Colombo 19th January 2005)

I woke up on the day after Christmas, the 26th of December. I got out of bed and having washed my face, I made my way down to have breakfast with my family. The dogs were barking, children were playing outside our gate, the birds were chirping, my mother was shouting at my brother to get was just another ordinary day in Peliyagoda..... or so it seemed.

A few hundred miles down the road an extraordinary event was unfolding, there too families woke up and were having breakfast around the table, there too mothers were asking their children to get ready, there too the dogs were barking, the children were running onto the beach to play, picking shells and even playing cricket. But a boom a thunderous boom broke the peaceful came rushing, churning, swirling, smashing, destroying, emptying, hurling everything in its a sweeping murderous instant a 20-foot tsunami had broken the heart of Sri Lanka.

It was devastating, soul destroying bringing tears to a father who held his dead son gently, his tears flowing down the child's body, a river of grief....his wail echoed around the world in the homes of London, New York, Tokyo, Melbourne, New Delhi, Moscow, Cape Town and Bejing.

Parts of the south and east coast were decimated, there was blood and carnage everywhere, bodies were flung from trains, hotels and ordinary homes. The wave swept over Sri Lanka and then receded with the dead and the dying.

It was a catastrophe; the world's worst natural disaster had struck Sri Lanka after a massive earthquake in the sea near Indonesia, registering 9 on the Richter scale. It registered an even greater depth of sadness and heartbreak in Sri Lanka - whole communities were wiped out and it brought death and destruction.

Sri Lanka dominated the world's headlines as people woke up on Boxing Day to view the devastation on their television screens.

The image of a loving father grieving from the depths of his soul, grieving for his son who appeared only to be asleep shook the world - it broke the hearts of many from Stratford in East London to downtown Tokyo.

The scenes from our country galvanised people into action...bloggers sent message screaming down the internet, an SOS was sent across the globe.....the tears of Sri Lanka brought tears to humanity, it provoked compassion as Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales said when he visited the London Buddhist Vihara in Chiswick, Great Britain and met Mahanayake Ven Vajiranana and the many volunteers from the Sri Lankan Community.

This spirit of compassion brought forth extraordinary tales - waiters fully knowing their families had perished went out to save the lives of tourists, a child who had learnt about the tsunami in her classroom fore warned her family and took them to safety, a mother smashed the window of the bathroom in her hotel and pushed her daughter out before the murderous waters took her life, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka saving the life of his political opponent and that of his family who were stranded on a rooftop, churches giving shelter to Buddhist and Hindus, temples giving shelter to Christians. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga appealed for humanitarian assistance.

The tidal wave shattered Sri Lanka but it could not break the power of humanity. It was human kindness and compassion that reached out to the people of our land - and out pouring of love, of generosity that overwhelmed our nation...... Children sold their Christmas presents in the UK to raise funds for the tsunami victims in the Asia-Pacific, the dollars, the yen, the pounds, the rupees flowed in of every currency from virtually every land.

People are giving, without a thought for themselves as they see the devastation day in day out on their television screens, reality television at its worst and yet out of this disaster comes hope, hope in the form of human compassion and kindness.

They come from all parts of the world to re-build our land. To re-build schools and whole communities washed away by the giant wave.

It is the strength of humanity. Disasters bind us together with chords that cannot be broken. Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Americans, Britons, Swedes, Australians, Germans, French, Nigerians, Arabs, Singaporeans among the multi-national, multi-coloured kaleidoscope of humanity all working together to help Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a cricket loving nation and what a wonderful sight it was to see the world's cricketers spurred on by Shane Warne who stood side by side with Muttiah Muralitharan to reach out to our country in a one day match in Melbourne, Australia.

Our cricket team have also launched an appeal.

They say it will taken 10 years and billions of dollars. But more than the colour of money it is the colour of humanity, the same blood that runs through the veins of humanity has reached out to help the distressed and the dying in Sri Lanka. It was an act of love. An act of compassion. An act of humanity.

Albert Einstein said: 'A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.'

This tsunami has freed people from self and they have opened their hearts, their minds and their wallets embracing the needy not only in Sri Lanka but in Indonesia, in Thailand, in the Maldives, in South India.

The great Martin Luther King said:' An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.'

This disaster has been a fine example of the people of the world going beyond the narrow concerns of themselves and embracing humanity in South East Asia.

We are surrounded by teams helping our fellowmen from all four corners of the earth - this has never ever happened in Sri Lanka and we have never ever had such a disaster such as a devastating tsunami. But we can drink from the cup of human kindness, we can gain strength from that solidarity and support, just as a child who has fallen raises her hands to seek help to stand on her own two feet, the world has come to our aid and has extended hands of friendship, love and support.

The ties of humanity will help us to get through this ordeal, we will one day stand up on our own two feet again, and we will rise like the proverbial phoenix. We will say thank you to human beings of all nationalities, creed and colour who came to our aid who responded to the call of Mother Lanka in her hour of need.

Ten years down the line there will be a new, vibrant, positive, compassionate Sri Lanka - and we pray that it will be a vision of Sri Lanka at peace with herself and her fellowmen.

We will draw strength from those simple acts of humanity that helped us, extending hands of friendship and support when we fell as the water rushed at us and threatened to flow over our souls. We will never forget.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Dream Harvest College London Supports Sri Lankan Tsunami Victims

The London based Dream Harvest College urged students to support the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. The appeal was launched at the first Open Evening of 2005,held at the college, based in East London.

Over one hundred students from the United Kingdom and around the world heard an appeal from Dream Harvest College, in Stratford, London, for humanitarian assistance for the tsunami victims on the island of Sri Lanka.The students were attending a highly successful Open Evening held at the East London Centre in Stratford.

Dream Harvest College London are working in partnership with the Autism Awareness Campaign in Sri Lanka and the respected international organisation - the Rotary Club Colombo Regency,to raise funds and urgent dry rations, medicine and equipment for the people of Sri Lanka - particularly on the east and south coasts of the island.

Dream Harvest College is one of the leading minority ethnic educational institutions in the United Kingdom. Hundreds of students from the UK and around the world are enrolling on the teacher adapation course and other courses offered by the college.

'The tsunami has devastated parts of the Asia Pacific region. We have many students from the island of Sri Lanka. We have seen the terrible devastation on our television screens. Dream Harvest College have urged students to support the tsunami victims of Sri Lanka,' said Obeng de Lawrence, Director of the College.

People who wish to support the appeal could donate online by accessing the Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka website:

The Autism Awareness Campaign in Sri Lanka are not collecting funds themselves but are working in partnership with Rotary Club Colombo Regency. People who would like to purchase dry food rations and medicine can do so online through

For further information on Dream Harvest College London:

Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka -

Tsunami Sri Lanka -Online contributions for disaster relief

The Bank of Ceylon, the People's Bank and the Central Bank have established three separate websites to facilitate on line contributions to the President's Fund for disaster relief. Contributions could be made accessing these websites, states the Office of the President of Sri Lanka.

Bank of Ceylon -

People's Bank -

Central Bank -

Donations can also be made by cheque or cash at all branches of the Bank of Ceylon and People's Bank.

People's Bank - A/c No. 204-100-190-136-245

Bank of Ceylon - A/c No. 222524

Donations via the Central Bank should be drawn to favour Central Bank of Sri Lanka O/A Disaster Relief A/C No. 46060.

The mailing address; Chief Accountant, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 01, Sri Lanka.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Nimal Mendis composes Tsunami Song

Nimal Mendis is one of Sri Lanka's outstanding singer/songwriters. He is a composer with dual nationality of Sri Lanka and Britian. At present Nimal Mendis is living in France. He had 22 songs recorded in Britain in the sixties and appeared on the popular TV show “Top of the Pops " in 1968 with my own song " Feel like a Clown ". It was with his singing partner Sandra Edema as Ranee and Raj. It was a guest appearance.

One of his songs " Master Sir " has been a popular song in Sri Lanka for many years. He also wrote " Ganga Addara " for the late Vijaya Kumaratunge, the Sri Lankan President's husband who was assasinated in 1988 . He has written these and many other popular film songs for our country’s foremost filmmakers Lester and Sumitra Pieris 's . The two songs mentioned are still played often in Sri Lanka.

Following the destruction and horror of the Tsumani that struck Sri Lanka Nimal Mendis composed a new song. It is based on the unprecedented sadness that the entire island of Sri Lanka is experiencing. The song will be translated into Sinhala and also to Tamil. Nimal Mendis needs sponsorship for a recording of this song by an organization who could do it like the Band Aid effort by British artistes that collected a huge sum of money for charity. He does not want anything for the song. Money collected should be sent to the President’s fund directly.( copied below )

To conatct Nimal Mendis:

Tel: ( 0033 ) 5 45 65 17 66 -

His son ( Paulmarie Mendis ) contact details: in London. Tel: ( 0044 ) 207 272 5748 -

In Sri Lanka - Varadatta Aravinda -

mobile: Tel: ( 00941 ) (0) 777 749420


Name of the Account : “ President’s Fund for Disaster Relief”
Bank : People’s Bank- Head Quarters Branch
Account Number : 204 100 190 136245
Type of the Account : Current Account
Swift Code : PSBKLKLX
Sort Cord : 204-7135
Online Transfer : Facility not available


1st Verse

Oh see the foam

The foam-crested wave

Everyone is dying

No one to save

Rising terror thirty feet

Crashing on the shore

Rolling horror on the land

Destroying door to door

Did you need the tsunami

To leave war behind

To come together

Love each other

My child I cannot find.


Tsunami Tsunami

Can I forget this day

My hand has lost its grip

My child is washed away

Tsunami Tsunami

From the bottom of the quake

Why have you done this?

Hundreds and thousands to take

The sea speaks to you man

The sea speaks to you

I’m cleansing your sins man

And all of your motherland.

2nd Verse

I was watching the sea gull

Diving for the fish

It caught the swimming eel

Out of the deep

I remembered the bullet

Past my ear with a swish

I grabbed my child, saved ourselves

With one mighty leap.

Give me an answer

You transgressed the law

What is in your mind now

My child is no more.


Words and Music by Nimal Mendis.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Warne wants to visit Sri Lanka to help Asian tsunami relief

Warne wants to visit Sri Lanka to help Asian tsunami relief

(Daily News Colombo)

Test cricket's leading bowler Shane Warne said he wants to visit Sri Lanka to help in the tsunami relief effort.

Warne, one of the world stars playing in the Cricket Tsunami Appeal one-dayer against Asia here on Monday, said he had spoken to World Vision Australia boss Tim Costello and Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan about trying to arrange a visit.

The devastated Sri Lankan city of Galle holds special significance for the 35-year-old Australian leg-spinner who made his return to Test cricket after his drug ban and took his 500th Test wicket there.

The Galle cricket ground was destroyed in the December 26 disaster. "It's just a matter of trying to work in between games," Warne said on Sunday.

"When you see the footage, it really is devastating and it has touched everybody.

"You want to try and do what you can and sometimes you can't do enough. "If I go over there I can put some smiles on children's faces, lend a hand and try to help out."

Warne, who increased his world record tally to 566 wickets in 120 Tests during last week's final Test against Pakistan in Sydney, said he would talk more with Muralitharan after Monday's match about the best way he could help.

Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar, who won't play in the appeal match because of an elbow injury, has still come to Australia to support the match.

Tendulkar said he wanted to be a part of the occasion even though he was unable to take part. "It is our responsibility to get together and through cricket, we can help the needy ones," Tendulkar said here on Sunday.

"Everyone understands how serious this cause is.

"To all those who've lost their dear ones and loved ones, our thoughts are with them."

The Asian XI team features a virtual who's-who of Asian cricket with skipper Sourav Ganguly, Sanath Jayasuriya, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble, Muralitharan and Tendulkar.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

'School in a box' for Sri Lanka

(BBC News Report)

Carol Bellamy wants schools to re-open in Sri Lanka

Children in Sri Lanka whose schools have been destroyed by the tsunami are to be helped by "school in a box" kits being sent by Unicef. The United Nation's children's agency is delivering the first batch of 100 kits which will help teachers to set up temporary outdoor classrooms.

The kits include books, pencils, a blackboard, chalk, posters and teaching materials for up to 80 pupils. Unicef wants to help schools in Sri Lanka to re-open next week.

"Nothing will signal hope more clearly than re-building and re-opening schools," said Unicef's executive director, Carol Bellamy.

Makeshift classrooms

The children's agency says that restoring education services must be a priority.

What the box contains :

"Being in a learning environment gives children something positive to focus on, and enables the adults around them to go about the business of rebuilding with greater confidence," said Ms Bellamy.

The school in a box kits are intended as a fast, portable way to re-open schools - and in Sri Lanka it is suggested these classes could take place beneath the shade of a large tree.

The kits are intended for two classes of 40 pupils - and the aluminium boxes contain materials to allow teachers to begin lessons in makeshift classrooms in the aftermath of such disasters.

These are designed to be useful for all cultures, such as exercise books without margins, so that they can be used by pupils writing either left to right or right to left. The blackboard is created by painting the aluminium box with paint provided in the kit.

The standard kits are then supplemented by materials in local languages and appropriate toys and musical instruments.

The Unicef kit is about 80 x 55 x 65 cm and weighs 52 kgs.

Teachers get:
1 x Bag, Unicef, blue nylon, 360mmx230mmx610mm
2 x Pen, ball-point, black
2 x Pen, ball-point, red
2 x Pen, ball-point, blue
1 x Triangle chalkboard, 30-60-90 degrees
1 x Triangle chalkboard, 90-45 degrees
3 x Chalk, assorted colours/box-100
3 x Chalk, white/box-100
2 x Book, exercise, A4, ruled-8mm, 96 pages
1 x Clock, teaching, wood
1 x Pens, felt-tip, ass.colours, 0.8-1mm/pack-6
2 x Marker, flipchart, colours, tip-4.5mm/pack-4
1 x Scissors, all purpose, sharp, 180mm
1 x Tape-measure, vinyl-coated, 1.5m/5ft
2 x Paint, chalkboard, black
1 x Brush, paint, for chalkboard, 60-65mm
1 x Box, metal, lockable for storage
1 x Set of 3 posters, plasticized paper
1 x Poster, multiplication table
1 x Poster, number table
1 x Poster, alphabet table
1 x Compass, chalkboard, 40 cm
1 x Ruler, chalkboard, 100cm
1 x Cubes, wood or plast., coloured, set of 100
2 x Register, A4, squared, 40 sheets
1 x Duster/wiper for chalkboard
2 x Decal, Unicef, round, diameter 205mm
1 x Guidelines for the kit
1 x Tape, adhesive, transp 1, 5cm x 10m/box-20

Students' materials:
48 x Crayon, wax, assorted colours/box-8
120 x Eraser, soft
100 x Book, exercise, A5, 5mm-square, 48 pages
100 x Book, exercise, A5, ruled-8mm, 48 pages
100 x Pencil sharpener, plastic
144 x Pencil for slates
144 x Pencil, HB grade, black
80 x Bag, carrier, A4, interlock seal
10 x Ruler, plastic, 30cm, set of 10
40 x Scissors, safety, school, B/B, 135mm
40 x Slate, student's, A4 (210 x 297mm)

Source: Unicef catalogue

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Australia: National Day of Mourning 16th January 2005

SUNDAY, January 16, would be a national day of mourning for tsunami victims, says Prime Minister John Howard of Australia.

"Many Australians will mark that by attending church services, others will choose to do it different ways," he said. "I respect the fact that Sunday is not a day of religious observance for all faiths in this country."

The Prime Minister indicated he would attend a service at a mosque as well as church service that weekend.

"It's my intention, as well as attending a Christian service that weekend, to mark the occasion by a visit to a place of worship of other faiths, particularly having regard to the extraordinary number of people of the Islamic faith who've lost their lives in this terrible disaster."

Mr Howard paid tribute to Australians for their voluntary aid to tsunami victims, which has reached more than $85 million. "They have been truly impressive," he said. "I'm just blown away by the great generosity of people."

Mr Howard said Australia would provide more aid to affected countries, with that matter to dominate discussions with Indonesia and other nations at tomorrow's summit in Jakarta.

"We will provide further assistance, I've made that clear. What that assistance will be and precisely where and in what form is something to be further discussed and decided," he said.

"In a situation like this it's important that you provide generous, immediate pledges of financial help, you provide immediate effective on-the-ground assistance and then, as the extent of the disaster and the type of response needed crystallises, you provide further assistance."

Mr Howard said Australia's efforts, such as the provision of a water purification plant in Aceh, had considerably helped alleviate the suffering of survivors.

"We have a single mission and that is to provide assistance, to get it through in the most practical way possible," he said.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Fact Sheet: How to Help Tsunami Disaster Victims

The White House - USA Freedom Corps
Contact: Erik Hotmire

Message from George Bush, President of the United States of America:

This morning, I spoke with the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, and expressed my condolences and our country's condolences. I told them of our support; I praised their steadfast leadership during these difficult times. We're grateful to the American and international organizations that are working courageously to save lives and to provide assistance, and I assured those leaders this is only the beginning of our help.
- President George W. Bush

(29th December 2004)


Information contained on this sheet has been gathered from sources at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information on the South and Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tsunamis, please visit

The list below is provided by USAID and can be retrieved from their website Please check back at this site for updates.



Volunteer opportunities in disaster settings are extremely rare, and are usually limited to people with prior disaster experience and technical skills (such as health, engineering, etc). To register your skills and experience for a possible volunteer opportunity, go to the Center for International Disaster Information's registration page.


The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. USAID encourages cash donations because they: allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, warehouse space, etc); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance. The agencies listed below are accepting donations for assistance they or their affiliates are providing to those affected by the earthquake and tsunamis:

Action Against Hunger
247 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018

ADRA International
Asia Tsunami Crisis Fund
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904
800-424-ADRA (2372)

Air Serv International
6583 Merchant Place, Suite 100
Warrenton, VA 20187

American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc.
JDC-South Asia Tsunami Relief
P.O. Box 321
847A Second Avenue
New York, New York 10017

American Jewish World Service
45 W. 36th St., 10th Fl.
New York, NY 10018

American Refugee Committee
Tsunami Relief
430 Oak Grove Street, Suite 204
Minneapolis, MN 55403

88 Hamilton Ave
Stamford, CT 06902

Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT)
Tsunami Fund
6810 Tilden Lane
Rockville, MD 20852

Baptist World Aid
Asia Tidal Waves
405 North Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046
703 790 8980

B'nai B'rith International
B'nai B'rith Disaster Relief Fund
2020 K Street NW
7th Floor
Washington, DC 20006

Brother's Brother Foundation
1200 Galveston Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15233

151 Ellis Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

Catholic Medical Mission Board
10 West 17th Street
New York, New York 10011

Catholic Relief Services
209 West Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

CHF International
8601 Georgia Ave. Suite 800
Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA

Christian Children's Fund
Child Alert Fund
PO Box 26484
Richmond, Virginia - 23261-6484

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC)
South Asia Earthquake
2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI, 49560

Church World Service
PO Box 968
Elkhart, IN 46515

Concern Worldwide, US
104 East 40th Street, Suite 903
New York, NY 10016

Direct Relief International
27 South La Patera Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Episcopal Relief and Development
South Asia Relief Fund
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
800-334-7626, ext. 5129

Food for the Hungry, Inc.
Food for the Hungry
Asia Quake Relief
1224 E. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Habitat for Humanity International
Asia Tsunami Response Fund
121 Habitat St
Americus, GA 31709

Heart to Heart International
401 S. Clairborne
Suite 302
Olathe, KS 66062

International Aid
17011 W. Hickory
Spring Lake, MI 49456

International Medical Corps
Tsunami Emergency Response
1919 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 300
Santa Monica, CA 90404-1950

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)
Asia Disaster Response
P.O. Box 630225
Baltimore, MD 21263-0225

International Relief and Development, Inc.
1621 N Kent Street, Suite 400
Arlington, VA 22209

International Relief Teams
Asia Earthquake/Floods
3547 Camino Del Rio South, Suite C
San Diego, CA 92108
International Rescue Committee
PO Box 5058
Hagerstown, MD 21741-9874
877-REFUGEE or 733-8433

Latter-Day Saint Charities
Welfare Services Emergency Response
50 East North Temple Street, Room 701
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150-6800

Lutheran World Relief
South Asia Tsunami
700 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230

MAP International
P.O. Box 215000
Brunswick, GA 31521

Mercy Corps
Southeast Asia Earthquake
Dept. W
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208-2669

Mercy-USA for Aid and Development
Tsunami Disaster Relief
44450 Pinetree Drive, Suite 201
Plymouth, Michigan 48170-3869

Network for Good
8615 Westwood Center Dr.
Suite 1A
Vienna, VA 22182

Northwest Medical Teams
SE Asia Disaster Relief Fund
PO Box 10
Portland, OR 97207
800-959-4325 (HEAL)

Operation Blessing International
Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Relief
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463

Northwest Medical Teams
SE Asia Disaster Relief Fund
PO Box 10
Portland, OR 97207
800-959-4325 (HEAL)

Operation USA
8320 Melrose Ave. #200
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Oxfam America
Asian Earthquake Fund
PO Box 1211
Albert Lea, MN 56007-1211

Plan USA
Asia Disaster
155 Plan Way
Warwick, RI 02886

Project Concern International
5151 Murphy Canyon Road Suite 320
San Diego, CA 92123

Project Concern International
5151 Murphy Canyon Road Suite 320
San Diego, CA 92123

Project HOPE
Asia Tsunami Response
255 Carter Hall Lane
Millwood, VA 22646

Red Cross (American Red Cross)
International Response Fund
2025 E St. NW
Washington, DC 20006

Relief International
Asia Earthquake Response
1575 Westwood Blvd., Suite 201
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO)
South Asia Relief Fund
615 Slaters Lane
Alexandria, VA, 22313

Samaritan's Purse
P.O. Box 3000
Boone, NC 28607
Phone (828) 262-1980
Fax (828) 266-1053

Save the Children
54 Wilton Road
Westport, CT 06880

Stop Hunger Now
SE Asia Crisis
2501 Clark Ave, Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27607

United Methodist Committee on Relief
Advance #274305, South Asia Emergency
475 Riverside Drive
Room 330
New York, NY 10115

United Way International
United Way South Asia Response Fund
701 N Fairfax St
Alexandria, VA 22314 USA

US Fund for UNICEF
General Emergency Fund
333 E. 38th Street
New York, NY 10016

World Concern
Asia Earthquake and Tsunami
19303 Fremont Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98133

World Emergency Relief
2270-D Camino Vida Roble
Carlsbad, CA 92009

World Hope International
Asia Relief
P.O. Box 96338
Washington DC 20090

World Relief
SE Asia Earthquake/Tsunamis
7 East Baltimore St
Baltimore MD 21202

World Vision
P.O. Box 70288
Tacoma, WA 98481-0288

(This list is provided by USAID and can be retrieved from their website

Tsunami Emergency: Sri Lanka Tourist Board Website

Sri Lanka Website Reaches Out Across the World
Call Centre and Web Site

Colombo, Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka Tourist Board's website has reached out to people in all parts of the world, providing vital updates on the Tsunami emergency and helping to reunite friends and family.

The website - - was established on December 27, to facilitate the dissemination of information including an Online Traveller Inquiry Form, which allows those concerned to provide details of missing persons to aid in the search.

"A critical function of the website has been to provide a forum for people searching for their friends and loved ones," said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Mr Udaya Nanayakkara. The web site was supported by a 24 hour call center manned by volunteers who worked with the tourist industry to trace and evacuate travelers who were in the tsunami affected areas.

"In conjunction with the National Council of Economic Development, we also maintain a list of people who have registered with us and this list is constantly updated.

"There has been a steady stream of enquiries as a result and the service has been very successful in providing information on displaced tourists - we have reunited friends and family from Australia to the United Kingdom," he said.

The website also contains contact details for essential services such as the police, hospitals, flight and airline information and hotels.

Tourist Evacuation Completed in Affected Areas. Some Opt to Stay.
While most affected tourists have been evacuated, a remarkable number have stayed behind to continue with their vacation.

UK resident, Mrs Heidi Happ, her husband and two children - aged thirteen and two have also decided to stay on and continue their holiday. They were staying at the Taj Exotica when the Tsunami stuck.

"The staff were wonderful and they made us feel so safe and secure. We decided to stay back to support the hotel and the country and just two days ago my husband and thirteen year old daughter trekked through the Sinharaja rainforest. We intend to complete our vacation as scheduled on January 7 and we will be back for sure" said Mrs. Happ.

Latest figures show that of the 7,682 rooms affected by the Tsunami, 3,651 were back in full operation yesterday (Monday January 3, 2005)

Across the island, there are over 10,500 rooms in full operation as of today.

NOTE: All media enquiries should be directed to the dedicated media hotline at the Sri Lanka Tourist Board on tel: +94-11- 4740219.

Foreign Office Emergency Number

The FCO emergency telephone number is:
020 7008 0000.

UK citizens in Sri Lanka caught up in the tragedy should contact the British High Commission in Colombo which is open on an emergency 24 hour basis. Its telephone number is : (00-94) 112437336.

Detailed report to local, foreign organisations providing relief

Detailed report to local, foreign organisations providing relief

by Uditha Kumarasinghe
Article in the Daily News in Colombo:

The Samurdhi and Poverty Alleviation Ministry has decided to present a detailed report to the Government to be submitted to local and foreign organisations who have pledged their assistance to provide relief to the people displaced by tsunami disaster.

The report will stress on the key areas where aid and relief should be granted and also highlighting the quantum of aid to be granted for specific areas, Samurdhi and Poverty Alleviation Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told the Daily News.

The Minister has taken this decision following a discussion with Ports, Civil Aviation and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera held at Cultural Centre, Nupe Matara last week.

A special discussion to educate the Galle district Samurdhi Managers and Samurdhi Development Officers (SDOs) on this program will be held at Galle District Secretariat under the patronage of Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi on January 5 at 10.00am. The Samurdhi Authority requests all SDOs and Samurdhi Managers to attend this discussion.

The Minister has already given instructions to the Ministry officials to prepare a detailed report on the number of deaths, properties damaged and source of income lost in each affected families. In order to coordinate these activities, a Samurdhi Coordinating Centre will be established in each affected Grama Niladari division. One Samurdhi Manager and three SDOs have been appointed from the unaffected areas to gather information on the displaced families.

The Minister has also given instructions to the officials to supply labour to remove the debris of the destroyed homes with the consent of the residents.

Meanwhile, the SDOs and Samurdhi Managers will also conduct a survey on all state and private sector properties destroyed by tidal waves.

In addition,a Samurdhi Manager will be appointed for each affected district to collect data on the death of Samurdhi officers and the properties damaged of Samurdhi officers by the tsunami disaster. The Minister has already appointed a Samurdhi Manager to the Matara district for this purpose.

In addition to this survey, the Ministry has appointed one Samurdhi Manager and three SDOs to coordinate the welfare activities of the camps where the displaced people are temporarily sheltered. An additional woman SDO has also been appointed to look into the special needs of women in these camps and also the children who have lost their parents.

This woman SDO will also coordinate to provide necessary labour to prepare meals and provide health and other sanitary facilities to the displaced families, she said.

Britons give Disaster Emergency Committee £60 million

Tsunami Earthquake Appeal

The British public have given and are giving until it hurts - the Diaster Emergency Committee(DEC) have said that the current total amounts to £60 million - it is unprecedented and speaks volumes of the compassion and generosity of the people of the United Kingdom.

YOU can donate to the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal by calling 0870 606 0900 or logging on to the website

Donations can also be made online to individual charities. You can use banks to give cash or cheques, payable to the DEC Tsunami Earthquake Appeal. Or donate cash or cheques, payable to Post Office Ltd, at Post Offices in the UK.

A special "999" PO Box has been set up by Royal Mail to speed donations. Post cheques, payable to the DEC Tsunami Earthquake Appeal, to PO Box 999, LONDON, EC3A 3AA.

You can also give cash or gifts at Oxfam shops in the UK.

DEC represents charities including ActionAid, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision. These charities are already working in Sri Lanka.

Watch the DEC video online:

Monday, January 03, 2005




Ivan Corea, Chair of the Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka and the UK has appealed to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Chancellor Gordon Brown, for more long term aid for Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami disaster.

‘Sri Lanka desperately needs around a billion pounds – not in ten years but in the next year for rehabilitation and re-construction. Disease and extreme poverty will rock Sri Lanka as people have lost their livelihoods, their homes, their schools and thousands of businesses. Starvation is a very serious reality for people in the south and the east.’ said Ivan Corea.

He urged Tony Blair to set up an Asia-Pacific Commission, to examine the long term issues of the region, in the wake of the tsunami. ‘Sri Lanka will have severe problems for the next ten years as a result of the tsunami,’ he added.

The Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka has also appealed the Britain’s disability organisations to reach out to the people of Sri Lanka. The disabled have also been badly affected, some have perished. There are many more disabled as a result of the horrific injuries sustained and they will need wheel chairs, crutches, medicine.

The Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka are not collecting money themselves but are working with partners – the Rotary Club of Colombo to assist the needy in the affected areas. They are also working with the Sri Lanka High Commission in London to collect medicine, food, tents etc to be despatched via SriLankan Airlines to the needy areas.

Ivan Corea gave his heartfelt thanks to the British public who have raised over £60 million, the donations are flooding the Disaster Emergency Committee in London. Her Majesty’s Government have also contributed £50 million. Sri Lanka will need a billion to stave off poverty and disease. He said the British public have been magnificent – they are giving until it hurts and the donations from the public might well top the £100 million mark.

The Autism Awareness Campaign urged Chancellor Gordon Brown to look into cancelling Sri Lanka’s debts in the wake of the tsunami disaster – without debt relief Sri Lanka will go deep down into the depths of poverty in the next ten years.

For further particulars please see:

Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka International Appeal