Bishop praises TRO, Tamil expatriate relief efforts

[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 January 2005, 13:37 GMT]
Bishop Joseph Kingsley Swampillai, bishop of Batticaloa-Amparai district, expressed his appreciation for the relief efforts carried out by the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) and the support given by the Tamil diaspora in meeting the immediate and urgent needs of the victims of disaster, in an interview with TamilNet Sunday.

Full text of the interview with Bishop Swampillai follows:

TamilNet: You have been visiting the tsunami affected villages in Amparai-Batticaloa area. Can you tell us how the disaster has impacted the people?
Bishop: The tsunami triggered natural disaster has killed several thousands of people along the coastal belt of Sri Lanka. No amount of money can compensate the losses suffered by our people. More than sixty two thousand people have lost their homes in our district and have sought refuge in welfare centers. More than twenty five thousand families are staying with their relatives and friends. I share their agony and anguish and pray to God to give them the mental strength to deal with their personal tragedies.

TamilNet: Are you satisfied with the relief operations?

Bishop:Immediate and urgent need was to provide food and clothing for the families who have sought shelter in welfare centers. People have lost all their possessions.

Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) volunteers have been administering and executing the relief efforts that have helped enormously to ease the burden of the displaced. Several others, religious-based organizations, social organizations and individuals are also assisting in the relief efforts.

TamilNet:Are you directly involved in any relief efforts?

Bishop:Our parishes are working with the local Eastern Human Economic Development (EHED) organization and support from individuals to provide assistance to a number of people affected by the disaster.

TamilNet:What are views on the assistance given by the expatriate Tamils?
Bishop:Many expatriate Tamils have also lost many of their relatives. Many who emigrated with the goal of providing help to their relatives in Sri Lanka are also suffering from the losses of their friends and relatives.

There has been a tremendous wave of financial, material and financial help from the Tamil diaspora. The disaster has united many groups abroad and it gives me great pleasure to express my gratitude and appreciation to the Tamil diaspora community. Their support is vital to help us lift the suffering section of our people and to help rebuild lives devastated by the disaster.

 

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