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>> The Asian Tribune


ITALIANS CONCLUDED MASSIVE PROJECTS FOR SRI LANKAN TSUNAMI VICTIMS

The Asian Tribune - April 16, 2007 The 2004 December 26th Tsunami could be classified as the most horrible disaster that has ever experienced by Sri Lanka and several other countries in the known history and it is a well-known factor that along with the people of those countries and various foreign countries and other national and international non-governmental organizations joined hands magnanimously, to help the Tsunami victims in whatever way they could. Though it may appear that in Sri Lanka some have forgotten this worst calamity that has befallen on a section their fellowmen, it is indeed noteworthy that with much obstacles certain national and international non-governmental organizations, foreign governments and some religious organizations are still grappling with the task of providing permanent relief such as housing etc. In this sphere, one organization that started helping the Tsunami victims from the day it occurred has been Sri Lanka Don Bosco Salasian Organization. Though its main task has been to work for children and youth and in youth training, they have promptly risen to the occasion. Sri Lanka Don Bosco Salasians, led by its Provincial Superior, Rev Fr Anthony H Pinto, altered all its sister organization spread all over the world, through its headquarters in Italy for assistance. Among others, who channeled their assistance are: The Italian Government, VIS – International Volunteer Service for Development (Voluntaries International per lo Sviluppo) through CNOS- National Centre for Salesian Works (Centro Nationale Opere Salesiane) with different donors like Italian Cooperation, Regione Lombardia, VIS; Italian Civil Protection; Foundation CARIFE; Italian Civil Protection, Giornale di Brescia and Comitato Trentino. Though the Don Bosco Salasians Sri Lanka is essentially a Catholic Organization, when they distributed the assistance among the Tsunami Victims there was no differentiation whatsoever- class, creed or religion. Their assistance flowed to areas where the disaster struck severely in the South, East, West and North. Their work in the South in places like, Hikkaduwa, Ambalangoda, Peraliya, Ahungalla have been through the leading Buddhist Monks in those areas. In Ahungalla a boarding centre for 100 children, for psycho-social and educational activities was constructed at a cost of Rs 45,000,000 (Euro 350,000). Though the construction was over in June last year the project will continue until June this year. In Negombo 200 houses and a community centre for Tsunami affected families in Negombo; distribution of 155 fishing boats, 103 boat engines, 99 sets of nets, 100 bicycles and many other items. The total cost has been Rs 330,000,000 (Euro 2,500,000) For other ancillary work connected to Tsunami victim welfare, social programme for children, women and community, technical training and boarding facilities and an indoor stadium were attended to at a cost of around Rs 37,000,000 (Euro 280,000). In Trincomalee 100 houses – 86 in Kallampathai and 14 in Nilaveli were constructed, distribution of fishing boats and sewing machines, attending to drainage system in Kallampathai and social programme with the beneficiaries were attended to at a cost of Rs 120,000,000 (Euro 900,000). Further, in Nilaveli buildings were constructed to expand the Nilaveli Hospital and new doctors' quarters at a cost of Rs 18,500,000 (Euro 140,000). In Mulaitivu 10 houses for Tsunami affected families and enhanced the technical school through the purchase and the installation of new equipment at a total cost of Rs 12,000,000 (Euro 90,000) Another Rs 26,500,000 (Euro 200,000) has been spent for other connected activities. Riccardo Giannotta, Sri Lanka Country Officer, VIS told the Asian Tribune that the help from the Italian people when they heard of the Tsunami disaster was spontaneous and the Italian people started collecting funds to assist Sri Lanka and other countries affected by Tsunami. The funds from the Italian people and the Italian Government were handed over to the Italian Civil Protection Organization. He said that though the funds were made available for charity, they were spent on stringent conditions, with full transparency and accountability up to every cent. A contingent of 10 Italians were sent to Sri Lanka to monitor and facilitate the work. Field officers, technicians and engineers were all at hand to have a flawless smooth passage of work and Giannotta said that the bulk of their projects are no over and they are now packing up to go home, with a satisfying hearts that a work well done. He said that the Italians have been very serious about completing a good work and during the period the work was on, two Italian Ministers – (Guliano Amato and Ms Emma Bonino) have visited Sri Lanka. Grateful people who received assistance, gathered at Bosco Pura, the housing complex VIS and other organizations helped to construct for the Tsunami homeless victims to show the gratitude and appreciation of the Italian people and the Italian Government. It was a simple ceremony and Agostino Miozzo, Head of Mission, Italian Civil Protection Department and Rev Fr Anthony H Pinto, attended it.





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