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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2644

Long Island fishing village in Sri Lanka: another token of goodwill from America

Colombo, 20 September, ( 40 tsunami-affected families became happy owners of their new, compact houses located in a model 3-acre village in Paiyagala of southern Sri Lanka.

As described by former-U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Special Envoy for Tsunami Relief for the United Nations, the tsunami was a "tragedy that touched the chord of our common humanity." Millions of Americans had contributed more than US $ 1 billion to the relief effort with the intention of helping the tsunami-affected "Build back better."

The residents of Long Island, New York, USA have now joined these numbers of generous people by donating to the construction of a fishing village comprising 40 houses. The activity was efficiently coordinated by the Sri Lanka Medical Association of North America (SLMANA), eastern Region Inc. -- a group of people working closely with tsunami-affected communities in Sri Lanka. While they were promptly responding to the needs of disaster-stricken Sri Lankans in
early 2005, SLMANA members identified this particular group of people for a special effort to re-build their lives.

Generous donations from the Americans in Long Island, tireless coordinating efforts of SLMANA and prompt action by Sri Lanka's relevant public sector organizations, including the Fisheries Ministry, thus became the vital links of this effort to re-construct the fishing community in Paiyagala.

Lal Pinto -- recipient of a new house and a father of two girls, aged nine and five -- remarked, "The tsunami shattered our lives. But we can again look forward to a future, as we now have a roof over our heads."

Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Minister of Foreign Employment Development and the Deputy Minister of Post and Telecommunications, who was the Chief Guest at the key-handing-over ceremony, highlighted the need for continued harmony and teamwork, which were the essential components of the Long Island Fishing Village in Sri Lanka. He said, "We should not forget the togetherness we harbored when we all ran for our lives in December 2004. The tsunami made us forget all our differences and conflicts we had earlier."

The builders of the model fishing village hope to construct a Community Center inclusive of a children's library and a health care center. Believing that "a home provides a shelter, and a livelihood provides a future," they hope also to raise funds for a deep-sea, multi-day fishing trawler.

- Asian Tribune -

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