Dear CJPA comrades: Recently I wrote to Jerome asking if it would be
helpful for one or two of us from CJPA to visit Sri Lanka to help in
the cleanup etc. His response, copied below, suggests that now is
not the right time for such a visit. However, at a future time it
might be good for us to make a visit and offer some of our strength
and energy to help out. We will continue to rely on Jerome to help
us in deciding when and how.
In the meantime, I urge all to use all of your creative abilities and
energy to think of ways to be supportive and encouraging at this
difficult time. If you want to sent some medicines as Jerome has
suggested, you can send them to the National Council of Churches in
Sri Lanka. Contact Jerome for details.
Its nice to hear from you. Well, according to my humble
knowledge and the experiences that I had recently with regard to the
Tsunami disaster there is a huge number of foreign aid agencies, UN,
foreign governments and other local and International NGOs are
working in the Island in relief activities. There were people like
social activists, journalists, Church workers visited to the country
and did what they could as well as collected the details of the
situations. Even I was involved in guiding the foreign people to
visit the affected areas. Most of them were just visiting the areas
and sending the news for their countries. Though it is a good way to
collect aid in their countries this kind of collecting news and
visiting the unclear areas (not controlling by the Government) h
raised suspicions among some people as well as some armed groups.
Therefore these kind of visiting are now strictly controlling by the
As you may know there are a huge number of foreign military troops
have arrived in the Island and many are expected to arrive soon.
According to the unofficial statements around 1500 troops of the US
military will be arrive soon with all there military equipments. So
these kinds of activities are not safe for our country in future for
our defense. Therefore the government is very strict of foreign
visitors now days.
Though the armed groups in the country are now joined together with
the government in the relief works they still have suspicions on the
people who are visiting the people from foreign countries as well as
from the local government officials; because the government and the
other groups are still expecting spies from various ways to the
Also I should mention that people who are coming through media and
other Government relief teems are allowed to go into the field.
There is also another problem began that the government says that
foreign aid coming to the Churches as well as to the Church based
organizations are should be distributed by the government not by the
Churches because it is free of duty. So the churches also facing
difficulties on their relief work as well as their foreign visitors
to the Island.
Since this the current situation here I would suggest you not to pay
a visit to this country now. It will take some more time to solve all
these practical issues in relief work and to build a good
understanding among the parties. But at the same time as you know,
new needs will be raised in near future and also the people will need
counseling and other related works.
When distributing goods is also now controlled by the government and
you cannot distribute them directly to the people. Max, if you really
willing to send something to the people here, the most important is
the medicines such as Antibiotics and other pain killers. Food and
others we are getting more than we needed. If you are sending
anything please send those to the NCC, and then we can get it without
Again I don't think that this is not the correct time to visit here
and you should need advises from the other friends in the country
too. When the situations are OK as CJPA members we can plan something
for the people here according to there need.