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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Return from Sri Lanka by keys on 2 September 2005 2:19am
As I posted months earlier, yes I did go through with the plans and went to Sri Lanka to do tsunami relief work. I stayed only for a couple of weeks (the max my schedule allowed me to do) but I kept my eyes open and my mind curious so aside from building a house (halfway thru the second and cleared the path for a third), I visited a garments factory, an orphanage with a sad history and saw everything from the remarkable (the sun rising, the light glittering off the white temple ontop of a hill from the bottom of sandy beach with turquoise waters) to some of the most beat-up homes and people still living in tents..

I still remember one of the questions asked earlier was: Is the relief money getting to the people?
Not as much as we'll like. To be blunt, it really has been organizations like Red Cross, Oxfam that have provided the immediate disaster response and carried out their mandates swiftly. Whereas the $$ for the gov't have gotten tied up, been spent in the wrong places (political families, even gone to ppl not affected by the tsunami) but at least the gov't is promising compensation for land lost.

Re: the 100m rule (no building homes within a 100m of the shore), this has now been revised. ppl can rebuild but the govt says that it will not provide any recompensation if another disaster strikes. it's up to the individual to make the decision to relocate or stay.

Fyi: Despite all this compensation about property lost in the disaster, I found it an interesting tidbit to know that there is a large group of people essentially getting screwed over by the whole ordeal. It's the people who rent the homes. The landlords get the compensation but the poeple who actually lived in the house and whose property was washed away, they are way down the list when it comes to getting resources (not to say they won't get anything way down the road but it doesn't look promising). Hence, the organization I was working with (Global Crossroad) focuses on providing housing of these ppl opposed to those who are waiting for govt-compensated homes. Interesting observation I learned thru asking questions there.

Anyone got more questions?
Re: Return from Sri Lanka by tucsonmike on 2 September 2005 6:34am
Interesting post. I fear we have had our own version of the tsunami...
Re: Return from Sri Lanka by suzulu on 2 September 2005 11:28am
Thank you for answering our questions - it is good to hear what is actually going on.

It was great that you were able to help in some way.

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