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61Message from Jerome

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  • max
    Jan 4, 2005
      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.


      Dear Max:

      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.

      Take care,
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