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Sunday, 11 January 2009

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Four years on - tsunami aid still rolls in

The Seafood Industry of Victoria (SIV) was one of the many generous donors of aid to Sri Lanka soon after the Boxing Day Asian Tsunami of December 2004.

SIV made an immediate request for fishing gear and other donations to assist Sri Lankan fishermen who bore the brunt of those two mighty waves. The response in Australia was immediate - Tim Mirabella of the Victorian Bay and Inlet Fishermen group visited Sri Lanka in January 2005 “and saw first hand the devastating impact of the tsunami on Sri Lankan fishing communities”.

He distributed hand held compasses and other items that assisted Sri Lankan fishermen get back to the only occupation they had known for generations.

Sumanadasa of Unawatuna was one such fisherman who has struggled to survive ever since. He is shown here with the Australia-Sri Lanka Medical Aid Team (AuSLMAT) on their fifteenth post-tsunami visit to Sri Lanka in July this year.

John Hasker A. M., Chairman of the Seafood Industry of Victoria and Ross McGowan, Executive Director met with Chris Drieberg and Quintus de Zylva at Epworth Hospital in Richmond on Friday 6th December when a further donation to assist fishermen in southern Sri Lanka was made. Arthur Allan and Chris Drieberg were instrumental in recommending AuSLMAT to be the distributor of this generous donation to Sri Lankan fishing communities.

Sumanadasa operates an out rigger boat. He rows to the reef to catch a few fish each morning. He has shared his catch with us and is now a firm favourite of the medical team when we stay at the Unawatuna Beach Resort in Galle.

Vinodh de Silva, Managing Director of UBR and Dr. Wimalsiri Ulluwatte - Visiting Physician, Hambantota District Hospital, will assist AuSLMAT in making certain that this generous donation from SIV goes to alleviate the agony that these fishing communities in southern Sri Lanka live with from day to day.Sumanadasa will now have a boat with a Honda outboard motor that will take him to the reef and back in safety and with speed.

The trauma of the Asian Tsunami was caused by two mighty waves just minutes apart but the havoc it created lingers on.

AuSLMAT is proud to be the conduit for aid to Sri Lanka.

 

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