Sunday, January 02, 2005

Letter from Sri Lanka

This letter is from my daughters' next-door neighbor (who is currently in Sri Lanka). If you'd like to help, she has tons of suggestions. Here is her letter in full.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Many of you have asked how to best support tsunami recovery work in Sri
Lanka. If you have not yet given, or are able to give again, you may
wish to consider the two appeals below. Both are directed toward local
action on the East Coast, which has been very severely affected. For a
variety of reasons, reconstruction efforts are likely to proceed more slowly on the East Coast unless they occur through organizations already active
in the area, with substantial local leadership.

These appeals come from reliable people, with information about
small-scale projects in Batticaloa and Ampara Districts. You may wish to
forward this information to your own contacts.

With all good wishes,
Anne Blackburn


Dear Friends and Family:

Our heartfelt thanks for your generous response to our request for
donations to aid those affected from the Tsunami in Sri Lanka and

We have decided to support work in the Batticaloa district as it is one
of the worst hit districts and because we can vouch for the organizations
and persons that we have decided to support, both in terms of the integrity
of the work and their capability to do the work.

1. St. John's Church (Rev. Jeyanesan - Church of South India)
2. Manresa (Fr. Paul Satkunanayagan - Jesuits) and The Butterfly
3. Individuals known to us personally who are able to provide
immediate assistance to those in need

For those of you wishing to forward funds directly to these

St. John's Church
Uranee, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Hatton National Bank Ltd.
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Acct. #01-0196601-8

Fr. Paul Satkunanayagam
1 Jesuit Residence
Jesuit Road
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Hatton National Bank Ltd.
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Acct. #02-0306001-3

If you would prefer to send the money to us to forward:

Marilyn Weaver
c/o Tsunami Disaster Relief
580 Indian Road, Apt. 2
Toronto, Ontario
Canada. M6P 2C2

For those wishing to obtain charitable donation receipts for tax
purposes the only option we can offer is that you send donations to St. John's Church via the UCC (United Church in the US)

If you live in the US and plan to send US chequest to us, please note
that there is a fee here for US cheques to be cashed. So it would be better
for you to send it directly to Batticaloa or via UCC.
If you do send something in response to our request though, please do
inform us so we can keep track of it.

The way to make the donation is via the UCC website:

Church website: UCC
Click on icon to find out more about UCC. Next page, second column is
for Tsunami Relief. Click on contribute. Fill out forms. On
second page of form, in box In Honour Of, state Tsunami Relief Sri
Lanka/Batticaloa. Give St. John's Church address for UCC to inform St.
John's that a donation is being made.

Alternatively, you may contribute to larger international NGO's such as
Oxfam and World University Services of Canada, both working in
the region, and able to provide charitable donation receipts.
Websites: Oxfam and WUSC

Thank you all again for your generosity. We will keep you updated with
news from the region and how your contributions were utilized.



Dear friends,

You have all seen the pictures in the media about the devastating
impact of the tsunami and are aware of the daily rising death tolls.

As you probably know, I am currently working with Volunteer Services
Overseas in Sri Lanka. John, my colleague, and I witnessed the massive
waves of the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka at Aragum Bay, a small resort
on the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka, from where we were rescued by

John and I have lost friends. Our VSO counterpart has lost 20 family
members in his village in Ampara district, where more than 15,000
people have been evacuated and are kept at many refugee camps in and around
the area. People need food and clothes immediately. Rains have started and
shelter is a severe problem for them. Almost everyone we work with has
suffered deaths in their families.

As in all these tragedies it is the poor that suffer the most. In
Akkaraipattu and other villages in the Ampara District where I live,
the poor village people living in palm thatch shacks that have suffered the
deaths and totally lost the little they had before.

Food and clothes are immediate needs that have been addressed to some
extend with the help of local communities. Within another couple of
weeks time people will need more supports for the reconstruction of their
shelters. As I understand the situation, this huge task has to be started
by the government. This process will take decades for government.

Since we are at the spot, we work with local organisations that are
very well known by the community, we can directly help the survivors. John
and I are appealing to our friends overseas for financial help. We will
personally make sure that every penny we receive goes directly to those in
need that have been hit by this disaster. Remember that over here,
goods are very cheap, so even small amounts can make a real difference.

We will use all the money to address the needs in the Ampara District,
the most affected area by the tsunami with 9000 bodies recovered and
180.000 displaced. This area, already the least developed in the country, has now suffered even more devastation.

Please forward this appeal to friends, business colleagues, clubs,
associations etc. that you think can help. If you feel like it, you can
include an introduction saying that you know me and that the appeal is
genuine and not a scam.

Any support will be most appreciated.



Volunteer Service Overseas - Tsunami Relief Fund

VSO has set up a dedicated fund for local distribution to affected
peoples in Sri Lanka and the Maldives initially. You can vehicle the donations to us through the fund. There are a number of ways that are listed below.

IMPORTANT. Please mark all donations with the following
FUND CODE: QS338 – Sri Lanka John & Nazza
This will ensure that the money is directed to our project and relief

1. Telephone Debit or Credit Card payment: (++44 20 8780 7314)
To make a debit or credit card payment over the phone, please call ++
20 8780 7314. This phone line will be manned between:
9.30 - 5.30 GMT (29th & 30th Dec)
9.30 - 2.00 GMT (31st Dec)
9.30 - 5.30 GMT (4th Jan onwards)
Don’t forget to quote our fund code.

2. Web Site Debit or Credit Card Payment: VSO
Donations can be made on line. If people want to make online donations
specifically for the Tsunami relief effort could they please quote
Sri Lanka John & Nazza in the section ‘What brought you to our
website?’ –on the “make a donation” page. Each web donation is checked and we will make sure that all specific donations will be set-aside for this

3. Bank-to-Bank Transfer:
There is a dedicated project bank account for this purpose. The details
of this bank account are as follows.
Don’t forget to quote our fund code.

Account Title: Voluntary Service Overseas (Project Account
No. 4) Account Address:
HSBC Bank Plc, 19 Grosvenor Place,
Hyde Park Corner, London, SW1X 7HT

For UK Donors:
Sort Code: 40 - 03 - 17
Account Number: 91 38 56 58

For Donors within the EU:
Account No’ (IBAN): GB16MIDL 4003 1791 3856 58

Overseas Donors:
Account Number: 91 38 56 58

4. Cheques (from UK Only):
Cheques can be sent to ‘VSO’ or ‘Voluntary Services Overseas’ in the
normal way to 317 Putney Bridge Road, London, SW15 2PN, UK.
Please attach a note &/or write on the back of the cheque that the
donation that they are making is specifically for the VSO Tsunami
Relief Fund Sri Lanka John & Nazza.

5. Direct transfer to us in Colombo
We have opened a dedicated bank account to administer all monies
We prefer this option, but please note that bank charges will apply and
Gift Aid Scheme does not apply.
Account Title: John Ramsey
Account Address: Hatton National Bank
Borella Branch, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Sort Code: 7083 – 055
Account Number: 0550225875

Important for Tax payers in the UK:
Gift Aid Scheme Donation

For Gift Aid Scheme Donations, the necessary form can be obtained from
VSO (0208 780 7314) or printed from the VSO website (go to Giving, Donate
Now, Accessibility, Print Page – but please sign it)

address) and information about your donation, so that we can inform you
how we have distributed the fund.

If you want to contact me for other information or whatever, email
Nazzareno Mileto on or call me at (Sri Lanka)

Any Queries in the UK or concerns can be addressed to Martin Wedlake,
Manager - Response Unit, on ++ 44 20 8780 7242

Again, many thanks for your support. Your generosity is appreciated.


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