Washington residents ship relief supplies
[TamilNet, Monday, 31 January 2005, 23:35 GMT]
Braving inclement weather, a group of expatriate Tamils in Washington Metropolitan area sent a 3200 cubic foot container with medicines, tents, toys and clothings to the warehouse at the Norfolk, Virginia shipyard, destined for Tamils Rehabilitation Organization's (TRO's) Colombo office for distribution to disaster victims in Sri Lanka. "What started as a small scale effort soon expanded as families and organizations called in to contribute their donations and to offer their services for free," organizers of the effort told TamilNet.
|Donation list from National Academy of Science staff (click for a larger image)
Despite forecasts of snow during Saturday and Sunday, the volunteer group met at the Hindu Temple in Lanham Maryland, and completed the final loading process.
"We were suprised and motivated by the response of US business establishments offering to bear the high cost of all transportation," Ms Vignarajah, one of the organizers said.
"S&V Warehouse" located in Hampton, Virginia offered free storage for the container, "Overnite Transportation," based in Richmond Virginia which provides inter-regional and long-haul service, waived the transportation costs from Lanham to Norfolk, and "G M International Logistics," a shipping company located in Erie Pennsylvania, agreed to bear the cost of shipping from Norfolk to Colombo, the organizers said.
Private individuals, Office employees and independent businesses donated clothes, kitchen utensils and other household goods. John Mintz from Hanover Uniform Company in Baltimore Maryland called and offered 50 boxes of T-shirts, suitable for the warmer climes in Sri Lanka. Employees at the United States National Academy of Sciences collected several boxes of clothing, said one of the organizers.
The collection included significant amount of medical supplies donated by doctors and medical establishments. Medicines included antibiotics, painkillers and other medical supplies that are in short supply at several welfare centers, volunteers who helped pack the supplies said.
Dr Raguraj, a Baltimore physician who had recently returned from a two-week trip running medical clinics in the welfare centers in NorthEast of Sri Lanka, said that providing proper shipping paper work to Colombo TRO well in advance of the arrival of the goods will help reducing delays during the clearing process in Colombo. "One load of medical supplies we took with us is still held up in Colombo customs," he said.
"We feel happy to have been able to do this and if the supplies help even a few needy families, it is all worth the effort," said Roopan one of the volunteers at the site.
|Trailer parked in temple compound
|Young volunteer, Sahana, labelling boxes with relief supplies