Report From Sri Lanka: Sad News; New Hope
Madison, WI-Shortly after last week's horrific
devastation in South Asia the Sri Lankan Credit
Federation (SANASA) began to provide
immediate ground relief.
The most recent report, from P.A.
chairman of SANASA is worse than originally
anticipated. The current death toll tops 31,000
in Sri Lanka alone. According to the ministry of
social welfare of Sri Lanka, as of January 4
there were still 3,846 people missing, while over
15,000 are injured. General estimates put the
number displaced from their homes to makeshift
camps and settlements at close to 1 million.
As expected, the economy is devastated; more
75% of the fishing industry destroyed and the
tourism business is wondering if it will ever
recover. In addition, it is now known that 800
SANASA credit unions were destroyed—far more than
the initial 100 reported.
Recovery will be a slow process, as the SANASA
network begins the reconstruction process. SANASA
still includes 8,000 primary societies (credit
unions) scattered across the island and 33
district unions. Its branches have already helped
distribute aid in the form of food, clothing and
medical supplies and according to Kiriwandeniya,
the Galle branch arranged for the funerals of 650
Kiriwandeniya also had some unexpectedly good
news to report. Because of the generosity of
donors and volunteers, Sri Lankan survivors have
enough food and clothing to survive for the time
being, though they are still in need of medical
With basic necessities secured for the moment,
SANASA is moving into the third phase of its
recovery plan (the second phase included clearing
the devastated areas and setting up youth camps).
Phase three includes building 1,000 shelter
units, providing cooking utensils for 25,000
families, taking guardianship of more than 100
orphaned children and generating jobs to help
revive the economy.
Kiriwandeniya has requested financial
from the international credit union community for
this third phase in the relief effort. WOCCU will
continue soliciting donations from its members
and associates, engaging in the reconstruction
For more information on how to contribute to
Worldwide Credit Union Foundation-Tsunami Relief
Fund visit the WOCCU website at
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.
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