December 28 2004
SOS Children's Villages to start emergency relief in South Asia
28/12/2004 - After the sea surge disaster in South Asia, SOS Children's Villages' emergency relief programme is now underway. The focus of the emergency relief effort is on South India and the Sri Lankan east coast.
SOS Children's Village facilities in the crisis regions of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia were not hit by the wall of water which devastated huge coastal areas in the Indian Ocean.
Teams of relief workers provided by SOS Children's Villages in India and Sri Lanka are on the ground in badly-hit areas to assess the need and to co-ordinate relief operations. Their areas of activity are located on India's and Sri Lanka's east coast where thousands - among them countless children - have been left dead, thousands are missing and millions have become homeless.
Yesterday, the buildings of the SOS Social Centre in Batticaloa on Sri Lanka's east coast were changed into emergency shelters for families who had lost everything in the sea surge disaster. A lorry loaded with relief packages for 3,000 people is on its way to provide those hit by disaster with drinking water, food, dairy products for small children, candles, matches, and clothes.
Another assessment in order to especially focus on providing help to children and single parents with children who have been left behind will be conducted after having distributed the aid packages.
In Galle on Sri Lanka's south coast, the location of another SOS Children's Village, relief workers are also currently considering how to most effectively help the affected children.
According to Cedric de Silva, director of SOS Children's Villages Sri Lanka, many roads are located in the devastated areas along the coastline. Gaining access to some of the regions hit by crisis is rather difficult given the magnitude of devastation; although the government relief forces try to do everything they can to help victims of the sea surge disaster.
A relief team of three was able to get to Nagappattinam in South India which is another region devastated by sea surges in the aftermath of the earthquake under the sea off the coast of Indonesia. In the face of possible outbreak of disease, many people from Nagappattinam were evacuated to neighbouring town Thiruvarur. Most families have found refuge at the town's famous temples.
According to SOS Children's Village co-workers, provincial authorities have started burying the countless dead and clearing the ground. SOS Children's Villages' emergency relief effort will go underway tomorrow, starting with the distribution of relief packages and assessing the situation of affected children.
The two Indian SOS Children's Villages in Visakhapatnam and Chennai located right in the centre of the areas hit by disaster can be used as bases from which to start possible further relief activities.
Please find more information on SOS Children's Villages in the areas hit by disaster in our news article of 27 December 2004.