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Sri Lanka - tsunami relief

On the 26th December 2004 at 7:59am (00:59GMT), an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 struck off the western coast of northern Sumatra in Indonesia. The shockwaves of the earthquake triggered huge tidal waves, known as tsunamis, which inundated coastal areas in 12 countries around the Indian Ocean rim. Although earthquakes are reasonably common in the region, tidal waves of this magnitude are rare and, because of this, the region was unprepared for such a scale of emergency.

The tsunami killed an estimated 175,000 people and more than 100,000 people are still missing. The waves demolished entire villages and towns and debilitated local infrastructures and industries. Over 3,000 children are believed to have lost both parents.

Of the 12 countries directly affected by the tsunami, Sri Lanka and Indonesia suffered the greatest devastation, largely due to their close proximity to the epicentre of the earthquake. More than 31,000 Sri Lankans are now confirmed dead and 5,600 people are still missing. At least 110,000 homes, approximately 13% of Sri Lanka’s total housing, were damaged or destroyed and 800,000 people were initially left without shelter.

WER, in partnership with Glasgow the Caring City, has provided emergency relief and long-term support to communities in Sri Lanka affected by the tsunami.

Less than 12 hours after news of the tsunami first reached the UK, WER provided funds for shipping of an initial 40 tonnes of emergency aid to Red Cross Sri Lanka. Since then, WER has shipped more than £6,000,000 worth of goods to Sri Lanka, including medicines, medical supplies, food and clothing. Working in partnership with Glasgow the Caring City, WER has also sent pharmaceutical and medical supplies to Hambanota Hospital, near Galle, in southwestern Sri Lanka and general humanitarian supplies to National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL)

WER's support to Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami included:

Shelter for displaced people

Relief to fishing communities

Returning to school

Facilitating communication

WER has agreed to be advisers to Glasgow City Council and the Hikkaduwa Area Relief Fund in connection with ongoing relief work in Sri Lanka.

A special report has been prepared by Glasgow the Caring City to give an overview of relief work currently being carried out in the Hikkaduwa and Galle areas. This report has been provided to Scottish Executive, Glasgow City Council and Strathclyde Police and Fire Department in order to enable planning for longterm reconstruction and development work in the affected areas. This is a confidential report but can be made available to appropriate parties upon request to Glasgow the Caring City.

WER, in partnership with Glasgow the Caring City, has pledged a 5 year commitment to communities in Sri Lanka, helping them to rebuild their lives and the futures of their children.

Through emergency relief and long-term development work in Sri Lanka, WER is giving children a living chance.

Photo courtesy of Nick Ponty, Glasgow Evening Times

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