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Tsunami / From Sri Lanka

in SRI LANKA, 05/01/2005

It is difficult, even here in Sri Lanka, to imagine the extent and the magnitude of the catastrophic Tsumani that hit our small island on the morning of the 26th of December.

Rosanna Flamer Caldera, ILGA Co-Secretary general and founder of Equal Ground, an LGBT group in Sri Lanka has been sending us some news from her country and the way it has affected their work and lives. She calls on us to contribute to the relief effort by donating some money: "No amount of money can replace the grief of people who have lost everything, including their families. However, we can only try to alleviate their hunger and their suffering so that they can have the strength to carry on with the rest of their lives. We urge all our members in the unaffected areas to give generously towards the victims of the tragedy".

It is difficult, even here in Sri Lanka, to imagine the extent and the magnitude of the catastrophic Tsumani that hit our small island on the morning of the 26th of December. It is a day, none of us will ever forget. Those who have been to the affected areas have a clear idea of the damage to life and property but for those of us who have only relied on BBC and CNN and the Internet to give us news, we cannot understand or imagine the extent of the loss and devastation.

One week and three days after the horrible tragedy, Sri Lanka is till trying to come to grips with the enormous tragedy. Although relief is now coming in from countries like India, USA, Australia and Europe it was and still is, the immediate efforts of the people and organisations in the country that has kept the death toll from rising even further.

What has this meant to the LGBT community here? Everyone I have spoken to in Colombo has said the same thing. They are all involved in relief efforts. Some cook food and take it to places, others collect clothing, still others help with handing our relief packages in the affected areas, others help the centres in Colombo where food is broken down from big gunny bags full of rice, lentils, sugar, tea and milk powder and packed in smaller quantities for distribution in the affected areas. They have donated money, food, clothes, medicines and most of all their time and love. Fortunately we have heard of no loss of life from the organisations operating in Colombo and for that we are grateful.

By mentioning Sri Lanka here, by no means diminishes the tragedy for other parts of Asia affected by the earthquake and the Tsunamis that followed. We empathise and grieve with them. We also send them our prayers and good wishes and hope that they all have the strength to cope with this as we are trying to here on our little island.

Where are we now? Emotionally and mentally, it has been an assault course for everyone. Yet every cloud has its silver lining. The most wonderful thing which has come of this tragedy is the bonding of people of all ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations and gender identities, all volunteering to help their fellow countrymen and women in their hour of need. However this is a tragedy of such enormous proportions for Sri Lanka already coping with so much over the years. It will take years and years to rebuild our country, but the psychological wounds may well take even longer.

The overwhelming love and compassion and the support shown us by people from all over the world, by the many emails and phone calls we have received over the course of the week, have given us the strength to carry on. It shows us that we are not alone and we thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Continue to do so as we struggle to life our country out of the rubble that was left behind by the killer waves.

Rosanna Flamer Caldera
Co-secretary General of ILGA

You may donate online using ILGA’s donation page. Please let us know if you wish the money you are donating is meant to contribute to the relief effort in the Comments box at the bottom of the page. Money will be redistributed to LGBT, women and children organizations and administered by ILGA and Equal Ground.

You may also choose to transfer directly your donation to a bank account specifically set up for this purpose:

BE 56 0014 4780 1788
Swift GEBABEBB

If in Belgium: 001-4478017 88

Thank you.
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