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From the Field
Relief Workers' Report

UNITED SIKHS, an international non-profit human development NGO, is currently working to provide humanitarian aid to victims of the Asian tsunami disaster. Current UNITED SIKHS projects include relief efforts in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nicobar Islands, South India, and Aceh, Indonesia.

Sri Lanka Mission

We traveled to trincomale, a tamil district on the north east of Sri Lanka. Hardyal Singh(project leader), kulvinder singh and gurvinder kaur are current ambassadors of the khalsahere in Sri Lanka..

We made contact with the TRO (tamil rehabilitation organization.) and the CHA (consortium humanitarian agencies i.e. Oxfam,US aid etc.). The Trincomalee area has 11 divisions, 800 villages, 400,000 people are resident here.

We were ascorted by Kalaichelvan are district officer of the CHA. He told us that the government have not done much to help, they are very slow. From our own eyes we have seen that people go hungry in camps and left to survive. This area is poor and underdeveloped as it is, but Tsunami has left the poor with nothing.

We drove parallel to the coast line affected on a road. The sight was flooded land and pools of water.Normal housing in these areas consists of traw huts, and the area generally is poor.

We have visited a relief camp site 300m from the beach. The majority of people here are afraid to go back to the ruins in fare of the Tsunami, and most would have nothing to go back to.

The camp housed 73 families in a mini school thus being 263 people. Living conditions are poor but dry. A government officer Mrs M.Manickaraja said “government is not giving anything.” The camp independently manages food, and will also have no food for the villagers tomorrow. Sanitation is poor, only 2 toilets and flooded and unhygienic. Urgent need for vegetables, food, oil, clothes(new) and toilets.

Males are fisherman or farmers, and are forced out of work due to the resulting flooding of land. Dog drank water from the flood and later died.

We then visited there village, Veloor, which had 136 peole die, in total 1000 people died in the Trincomalee district. The wave struck at 8:30am and lasted five minutes, the second wave struck only 15mins later, giving little time to escape. Some families managed to escape, others climbed trees, others not so lucky. The majority of dead were elderly and children due to the lack of mobility to escape. The area is completely deserted. There is a definite feel of death in the area, words are difficult to imagine what the site not only looks like, but what it feels like. We have taken images and video footage of the ruins left of veloor village only 25meters from the sea.

We have decided to provide a temporary source of food for the camp site. The Daya of Guroo Nanak has no limits to its reach. We will collectively gather more information on the east coast of the island neglected, and thus disclose a detailed plan for the mission ahead.

Pictures of the disaster site and camps to follow.

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