January 4 2005
SOS Children's Villages helps thousands of children in tsunami-hit countries
03/01/2005 - After the devastating sea surge SOS Children's Villages is taking care of some 5,600 children in 13 emergency camps in South India. In Sri Lanka relief packages are being delivered continually to affected families and emergency shelters are being set up. Some families are already receiving support to re-build their livelihoods.
In the south of India, help provided by SOS Children's Villages is concentrated in the cities of Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore near Pondicherry and Kanyakumari. Thousands of people were evacuated into the temple buildings and community centres of these cities or fled there chased by the mass of water.
SOS Children's Villages has set up 13 camps especially for children in these emergency shelters. The children are severely traumatised, their parents have lost their entire livelihoods, many children have become half or fully orphaned.
In Cuddalore the fishing families were most severely affected by the sea surge disaster. Here the camps are more or less out in the open because there are no temples or other large buildings in the area.
The children are being provided with food and clothing and activities are organised to keep them busy. In order to help them overcome the shock, the co-workers paint, draw and sing with the children. The families of the children are asked to join in, and this is much appreciated.
In the disaster areas in the east and southeast of Sri Lanka thousands more victims from the sea surge are being provided with relief supplies. The SOS Social Centre in Batticaloa is the centre of emergency assistance in a region which is partly controlled by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).
Alongside distributions of food, drinking water, and medication, the first families from the areas near Komari, Pottuvil, Arugambay and Hambantota south of Batticaloa will be offered extensive support so they might re-establish a means of subsistence. New boats are being bought or old boats are being repaired, provisional shelters are being built or other important goods are being made available.
The local authorities have made two warehouses available to SOS Children's Village Monaragala, which will be adapted and made into shelters for refugee families.
In Piliyandala, near Colombo, 500 families who fled to the temple buildings are being offered medical care. A delivery of medication from Austria will reach the SOS Medical Centre in Piliyandala within the next few days.
In the medium term, 1,000 families in India and Sri Lanka are to be given enough support to enable them to make a living and to lead a secure life. Countless children lost their lives in the sea surge on 26 December.
It is not yet known how many children have become orphans. SOS Children's Villages can take in up to 500 children in the existing SOS Children's Villages. Once need has been established, new SOS Children's Villages may be built in the crisis regions in South India, in the east of Sri Lanka and in Indonesia.