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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HomeTamils - a Nation without a State > Struggle for Tamil Eelam  >  Human Rights & the Tamil People >Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) > Report on Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation for Tsunami Affected Sri Lanka, 26 December 2004 – 26 June 2005


Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO)
 Report on Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation
for Tsunami Affected Sri Lanka
26 December 2004 – 26 June 2005
Full Text of Report in PDF - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4


Six months after a devastating tsunami overwhelmed the coast of Sri Lanka on 26 December 2004, the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) is publishing this report to provide awareness of its tsunami related activities including current projects, challenges and partners.

In late December 2004, men and women worldwide interrupted their daily lives to read, watch and hear the devastating headlines coming out of Asia. Powered by an earthquake in the Indonesian Sea off the island of Sumatra, the devastating tsunami destroyed coastlines throughout the Indian Ocean. In Sri Lanka, over 40,000 people lost their lives, a further 500,000 were displaced and countless others injured and severely traumatised by the tragedy.

The tsunami aftermath has been a testing time for TRO offices all over the world. Six months on, the relief work is far from over but made a little easier due to the hard work and assistance of the 3,500 TRO permanent staff and thousands of volunteers, donor agencies, partner organisations, the Government of Sri Lanka, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and private assistance. TRO wishes to thank all those who assisted in responding to the disaster and acknowledges the time and effort put forward by countless individuals from all over the world.

Whilst there has been a shift of emphasis in TRO’s activities post-tsunami, the immediate relief and rehabilitation needs of the war affected are also being carried out. This report excludes projects pertaining to the war affected, yet TRO wishes to acknowledge their presence as significant and note the important work still being carried out in the NorthEast to assist those who have ben affected by the war.

For up to twenty years these people have been displaced, some numerous times, and waiting for due process before they are given the most basic of items; shelter, income generating opportunities, access to health services and education facilities. TRO will continue to assist these communities until such point when they are both rehabilitated and developed to a point where external assistance is no longer required.

This ongoing work in the areas of resettlement, preschool education, vocational training, coordinating the removal of landmines, children’s homes, children’s nutrition programmes and community development are sectors that TRO is now redeveloping in the tsunami affected areas of the NorthEast. Ensuring that these services are provided to both war internally displaced persons (IDPs) in a timely manner is essential.

For 19 years TRO has worked tirelessly in assisting people in the NorthEast of Sri Lanka. However there has never been a more testing time for the organisation then the devastating tsunami that overwhelmed so much of Asia on that fateful day. TRO’s experience in working in a conflict zone and its exceptional knowledge of the ground, culture, values and aspirations of the people allowed them to respond to the disaster with efficiency and speed in the NorthEast.

In any natural diaster it is essential to respond quickly to the devastation. In the critical days after the tsunami there were many immediate challenges TRO had to face including attending to the dead and injured, assisting the affected and housing them in welfare centres and providing food, clothes, sanitation and water in an orderly manner. While TRO did respond to the emergency in some areas within an hour of the tsunami impact, TRO also recognises the long term commitment of tsunami relief that could take years if not generations to deliver.

Now, six months later, even as the international media turns its attention to other headlines, the needs of those affected are still pressing and TRO continues to work around the clock to help them. With Disaster Management Units (DMU’s) established in each of the affected districts the head office in Kilinochchi and in Colombo. In these units teams of staff and volunteers are working to return those affected to a sense of normality through permanent housing, infrastructure, employment and community facilities.

Letter from TRO Board of Governors and Executive Director

The 26th December 2004 will be a day that Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation will never forget, one that we hope that the world will never forget, for not only the devastation caused by nature in the form of the Tsunami but also by the way that people throughout the world reacted and responded giving goods, time and money to assist their fellow human.

The devastation caused by the Tsunami tested our commitment to humanitarian service and the core competencies of Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation. However, it was and still is, heartening to see the staff, volunteers and international community converging to assist us in a selfless and caring manner that is appropriate to the scale of the human tragedy.

The first few days of response to this tragedy addressing humanitarian needs bore testimony to human compassion and heartfelt passion to help fellow humans in their hour of need. The donations of time both within Sri Lanka and internationally will long be discussed and never forgotten.

The environment in which TRO was working was not easy, as assessment of need and monitoring was centralised, receiving and delivering goods and implementing relief programmes at the district and village level became an arduous task. Despite the challenging environment, TRO was not deterred and continued to meet the various bureaucratic requests in a timely manner.

The affected people in the NorthEast are still languishing in temporary shelters and in some cases, shelters that are not appropriate for living in for more than a few weeks. We cannot be satisfied with what we have achieved until affected people are fully and permanently resettled.

The Board of Governors of TRO recognises the consistent work contributed by all staff and sincerely expresses their appreciation. It is obvious that the efforts of all members are contributing towards an environment that will be sustainable for the people living in coastal regions in NorthEast Sri Lanka.

We are particularly grateful to the international community for their assistance with the challenges. The organisations which came directly to TRO with unconditional support have been greatly appreciated. Ongoing support of the Diaspora community and their expression of support by financial assistance and volunteer help is also very much appreciated.

TRO has continued to work to assist the people who have been displaced by the war and will continue to do this. The rapid recovery and rehabilitation programme for war IDPs is still high on the TRO agenda.

TRO is mindful of the scale of challenges that are still ahead of us and will continue to diligently work towards addressing the needs of affected people. To this end, TRO is carrying out extensive initiatives to build the capacity of staff and other resources all of which were affected by the long lasting war in the NorthEast.

Executive Director

K.P Regi



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