Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamils - a Nation without a State> Tsunami Disaster & Tamil Eelam > Sampavi Parimalanathan, an Australian Tamil writes from North-East Sri Lanka, 31 December 2004

Tsunami Disaster & Tamil Eelam

Sampavi Parimalanathan, an Australian Tamil
writes from North-East Sri Lanka

31 December 2004

The writer is a Student Volunteer from one of the Universities in Sydney,
who originally went to Sri Lanka to help in the hospitals

[see also Sampavi Parimalanathan, an Australian Tamil , writes on her return from North-East Sri Lanka
- Death, Destruction & Discrimination, 30 January 2005]

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to you from North-East Sri Lanka, one of the areas hit by the massive tsunami on December 26th. I initially came here to do voluntary work at hospitals, however, since the natural disaster, I have been roaming the streets, talking to survivors and helping with some aid work.

All I see is absolute devastation. Local schools overflow with displaced people. Mourners cry in huddled groups. There are families where only 3 out of 20 people have survived. So far I have met 105 families where a loss of more than 10 people per family has occurred. Stories of the water grabbing babies from their mothers' grip, stories of small children being trapped underneath collapsing buildings, stories of entire orphanages being engulfed by the sea still swirl in my head.

A 32 year old man tells me he is the only survivor in his family. "The sea has engulfed my parents, my siblings, my wife, and my children." He is from Kallappadu, a village that had been completely wiped out by the tsunami. He had survived because he had gone inland to visit his friend. He now has no family, no home and no livelihood. His boat lies smashed against a post 500m from the sea.

Another woman tells me of how she was only able to save 1 of her 5 children. The man next to her says only him and his son survived in their family. He is from Mullatheevu where there have been more than 4000 deaths.and counting.

However, these pathetic stories of death and destruction are not heard by the international community. I am yet to see any media coverage of the situation in North-East Sri Lanka.

The tsunami hit Sunday morning, and the people I saw first at the scene to help with the catastrophe were the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and TRO (Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation). It has been five days since the tsunami, and I am yet to see any Sri Lankan Government personnel arrive to assess the situation at any of the areas in the North East province that I have been to. Yet, branded as 'terrorists' by many nations, the LTTE are risking their own lives, searching the seas for bodies whilst warning calls go out for another tsunami.

I spoke to a Tamil Tiger who was clearing bodies. I ask him if he has lost any loved ones. "Yes. Thousands," he replies. He then turns around and starts clearing bodies. I find out later that he had lost his entire family.

The LTTE has volunteered all their troops into aid work. I see them everywhere, bringing in food, collecting clothes, distributing donations and housing survivors.

A few NGO vehicles are around, but I am not too sure of the extent of their contribution. The BBC coverage talks very little of the need in the North East, and false claims of the LTTE placing strict restrictions on aid receipt are being broadcasted.

The footage of the devastation in Sri Lanka has been on the news. However, very little information is going out about Tamil Eelam, the province the LTTE have been fighting for.

The Tamil people of Sri Lanka have been fighting for independence for the last 25 years, wanting liberation from discrimination and prejudice. Years of anti-Tamil acts, ranging from discrimination in the education and work force, to Government backed up acts of violence such as the 1983 riots which killed thousands of Tamils, have devastated the Tamil people of Sri Lanka.

Today, the Tamil people are again targets of discrimination. This time, they are prevented from access to foreign aid or media coverage. From what I have seen first hand, I can assure you that the all the work being done in these Tamil areas is by the LTTE and by TRO. There has been no lending hand of support from the Sri Lankan Government, who promises to give equal opportunities to both Tamils and Sinhalese citizens. This incident is a perfect example of why the Tamil people need their own country. The Sri Lankan Government is clearly not concerned about the welfare of the Tamil people. Even in such a state of absolute loss, the Sri Lankan Government is brutal enough to direct all funds and media away from Tamil areas.

I hope to be the messenger who conveys the calls of help of the Tamil people. The cries of the Tamil people have been silenced by the Sri Lankan Government for far too many years. The Tamil people desperately need to be heard by the international community.

If you would like to help in any way, I urge you to contact TRO in your country.

Thank you.

Tamil Australian


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