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Recovering from Easter Sunday Tragedy

On 21st of April 2019, Easter Sunday morning, there were a series of bomb attacks in different locations in Sri Lanka including in the capital city Colombo. The attacks targeted Catholic/ Christian places of worship as well as major hotels in Colombo. Six coordinated blasts targeting Easter celebrations were carried out within a span of 45 minutes, the GoSL is of the opinion that local radical groups with international connections have orchestrated the attacks. Investigations are still ongoing and the terrorist group has not being identified precisely. The forces as of today are still running checks and investigations throughout the island. Several incidents of explosive diffusion and raids occurred in Colombo as well as throughout the island. General public still experience a sense of threat and insecurity. Sri Lanka is now under State of Emergency Regulations and the provisions can be found on link http://documents.gov.lk/files/egz/2019/4/2120-05_E.pdf

As of today (30 April 2019, 1500hrs), nearly 300 persons (359 persons were the initial GoSL declared number of deaths and this was sooner revised and was lowered due to calculation errors)including 35 foreign nationals are confirmed dead and over 500 are being treated for injuries ranging from minor to intensive care. Sarvodaya provided assistanceand reliefto local and international families identifying corpses at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officers morgue. 

As a nation we are all shaken up by these horrific attacks and we are mourning the loss of our fellow brothers and sisters. However, Sarvodaya immediately began its emergency operations since 22 April 2019 being on standby in the affected areas through our district centres. Colombo district Centre as well as Batticaloa are actively on the ground. We have formed an Emergency Operations Committee chaired by my officewith senior staff of Sarvodaya and external volunteer experts. 

Immediate action include; supporting the affected families with aid and psycho-social support, visiting the affected families (door-to-door) and understanding their needs , mobilising our inter-religious island wide network to promote peace and  reconciliation, and mobilising our youth networks to support grassroots efforts to contain eruption of communal violence. We are currently relying on volunteer experts briefing us on the ground situation. Dr Novil Wijesekara from the Ministry of Disaster Management briefed Sarvodaya operations team today on collaborating with government authorities, Ministry of Health and other related agencies related to this incident. 

Sarvodaya, with its senior management and the district staff have agreed upon the following action as short, medium and long term interventions to recover from this tragic situation, and some of the interventions are already happening on ground.

  1. Financial support for the funeral and related activities

It has been reported as some of the victims are facing financial difficulties in carrying the funeral and ‘Dana’ activities. Sarvodaya is proposing to assist the families who need such kind of supports to make those families comfortable. With the recommendation of the Grama Niladari required amount will be given to the family. Sarvodaya will ensure the transparency in this assisting process 

  • House to House visits

Sarvodaya will conduct house-to-house visits with the support of the trained volunteers. These visits will help to understand the status of the affected families and initial needs assessment will be completed. 

  • Provide psychosocial assistance:

Psychological trauma will be one of the immediate results for who have experienced this kind of unexpected tragedy in their life, which will be a route cause for many invisible wounds and leads to adverse long term effects in the community. Sarvodaya will initiate the psychosocial assistance for the target beneficiaries with the support of qualified experienced psychologists and counselors. Sarvodaya will also coordinate and collaborate with other organizations specialized in this field.

  • Support  for affected school children 

The school going children of affected families will be offered a sponsorship to continue their formal education for certain period to avoid the school drop outs incidents due to financial difficulties.      

  • Supporting children who lost the parent/guardian

Children who are under age of 5 and lost their parent/guardians will be looked as special beneficiary category. Proposing to support to full the their requirements by providing financial assistance and link with the supportive system as per legal provisions in this regard.      

  • Livelihood Support  

There would have been the loss of many breadwinners amongst the affected families. Based on the household needs assessment, Sarvodaya propose to provide opportunities for vocational training, skill development and the entrepreneurship skills of the affected women and youth in their interested fields to get them out of the cycle of poverty. Activities have been outlined such as providing capacity development, financial assistance in the form of seed capital, mentorship and market linkages with relevant institutions. This would include support to start the small business initiation or continue the existing business and agriculture activities.

  • Support to overcome disability 

Expecting, number of victims will be reported with different needs and aiming to support 50 such victims to provide supporting equipment (wheel chair, hearing aid, artificial limbs etc.) with the recommendation of the medical specialists in the respective hospitals.     

  • “Voice of victims” 

Victims have strong voice in preventing such incidents by sharing their own stories and losses. Sarvodaya is proposing to use the voice of the victims to share among other communities in the island. Effected youth will be encouraged to come forward to build and strengthen the resilience in the community.

  • Intra-faith and Inter-faith activities 

Key of this proposed intervention is to bring youth (Male & Female) together, from different communities and different religions, to prevent spread of racial prejudice, hatred, contain possible violent reprisals and promote peace. Encouraging dialogue between victims, who have different backgrounds, experiences, and stories. This exercise will contribute enhance the tolerance among the different communities by understanding others and encourage to interact with each other with empathy and will support to avoid be in isolation.  

  • Promote reconciliation through forming a Coalition for National harmony 

Sarvodaya is proposing to establish a coalition with the participation of all community from different sectors especially from intellectuals, business people, active youth, religious and community leaders. This coalition will support to raise the voice for harmony at national level.

We have also been making appeals to the general public through different communication channels requesting them to remain calm and avoid spreading or sharing messages of hatred that may instigate violence. We have closely monitored the situation and haverespondedto the situational demands. We are very much grateful for the kind thoughts, prayers and contributions we have been receiving from all our friends local and in the international community. 

For more information on partnerships and clarifications you can contact Mr. Chamindha Rajakaruna (Executive Director) on chamindha@sarvodaya.org+94777710205 OR Udesh on udesh@sarvodaya.org, +94714738011

INFOMATION ON DONATIONS 

INTERNATIONAL

We have our Sampath Bank Payment Gateway for donations (with www.sarvodaya.org). The contact details of Sarvodaya USA, which has approved charity status there are given below, and please contact them OR  Sarvodaya HQ, Finance Coordinator Mr. Kamal Gamage for any possible support for the affected people. Kamal Mobile: +94759360542, kamal@sarvodaya.org

Name: Bridgette Weber, Treasurer – Sarvodaya USA, Email: bridgette@sarvodayausa.org, Phone: 1-608-567-4421

Other methods LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL

Sarvodaya (Sampath Bank) direct payment gateway – 

https://www.sarvodaya.org/donate/donate.html

PayPal Donations

For the simplest donation we recommend using PayPal to donate to our Sarvodaya USAbranch. PayPal does not currently interconnect with Sri Lankan banks, but through Sarvodaya USA we are able to transfer these funds and use them for direct relief efforts. PayPal processes Visa and Mastercard. These donations are tax deductible in the USA.

Please donate via the secure ‘Make A Donation’ button in the sidebar at right.

Donations to Our Sri Lankan Bank

You may donate online via Sampath Bank, one of Sri Lanka’s leading banks. This payment gateway accepts Mastercard and Visa. These donations are not tax-deductible.

Cheques and Money Orders

In Sri Lanka you may mail a cheque to the following address, or visit us in person! 

Sarvodaya Headquarters, No 98, Rawatawatta Road, Moratuwa , Sri Lanka

For tax exemption in the US, please contact Sarvodaya USA. Sarvodaya USA is a 501 ( c ) 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization which will provide a receipt for your donation. Sarvodaya USA’s tax ID number is 13-3358148. You may send a check to our Madison Office:

Payable To: Sarvodaya USA

Mailing Address:

Sarvodaya USA, 1127 University Ave, Madison, WI 53715 USA

Wire Transfers, Bank Accounts

For local donations (LKR)

Bank Name    : Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC

Bank Account : 1590008015

Currency     : USD

Bank Address : No.766, Galle Road, Idama, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.

Swift Code   : CCEYLKLXXXX

For foreign donations

Bank Name    : Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC

Bank Account : 1590008015

Currency     : USD

Bank Address : No.766, Galle Road, Idama, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.

Swift Code   : CCEYLKLXXXX

Please do not send clothing, medicine, supplies or other material items to Sarvodaya or Sarvodaya USA without official confirmation. Thank you for your good work and compassion.

A brief of Sarvodaya response so far is given below.

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