Sri Lanka basically hasn’t made any advances since the Tsunami. We stuck our heads in the sand with the 100-meter rule, leaving our asses out in the rain. People can theoretically rebuild now, but most are still leaving in tents and we’ve got a tsunami hora as our President. I used to visit Matara sometimes but things just kinda went back to normal. I mean, I, how do you say, sold out. Plus, wtf can you do. The only productive days I remember were the first two when the government wasn’t around at all. Uh, but anyways, this site webhamuva.org was started months ago to collect firsthand reports from the camps. It was slow for a while, but now there are reports coming in and I have enough in hand for about two weeks of timed releases. I’ve cited some quotes that interest/scare me here. This project is funded by the World Bank and organized by Sarvodaya and LIRNEasia.
“In this area, in addition to the work in the sea, coconut-plucking, sale of flower pots, small shops, etc. are done. We do everything with the constant fear that the Tsunami will come. Our things, clothes are still stocked together. There is no way to keep a house beautifully, neatly. I canâ€™t think when we will be freed from these problems” (Kalutara)
“We canâ€™t be a burden to others forever, no. We should also have a way to live. Even when foreigners come, they give only to some. We live in a corner, no. So we canâ€™t even be seen. Even now, tinned foods have been given in that Wadduwa area. Today, we have not got even that” (Kalutara)
“Among the basic problems is water as well as toilets. Most toilets in this area, due to the Tsunami have got filled with water and are overflowing. This is the problem that really needs to be solved. The people who stayed in this area went to eight temporary houses in Modarawila. However, they come here in the morning and shower and wash their clothes and go to Modarawila only in the afternoon. They say that it is very difficult to stay there. The water and sanitation problem is very severe there. To use the toilet, one has to wake up at least at five in the morning and stay in the line” (Kalutara)
“The people who lived here might have stayed in small homes, but they were not used to living like shanty-dwellers. They were people who lived well. Now it has become a mud hole there. These are people who lived very peacefully with us in the village. They say that they are not used to this kind of living. There are even people who use drugs. They are scared to leave their girl children by themselves. They are living a very hard life now. Additionally, people who go to sea have to come here. They have to bring their children and come. So when they come in the morning, they go back only in the night” (Kalutara)
“There are 2028 families living in this village. 185 boys are under 18 years old, 232 males are between 19-60 years old. There are 18 males over 61 years. 339 females are living here among the total family. There are 176 girls under 18 years of age. 11 persons are disabled due to Tsunami. Nutrition level of the children are very low. Here children can enjoy their hobbies in the Welfare Centres. Some organizations helped for this purposes health facilities are very less in this village. (Such as drinking water, mosquito nets, latrines etc.) The village environment is not clean” (Trinco Coordinator’s Report)
The villagers thank the government and the general populace for supplying food in the days immediately following the Tsunami. They also thank the various organizations that helped them. They express their gratitude to the government for providing them with temporary dwellings, but also say that some unnecessary activities have taken place. They blame this on the fact that the Gramasevaka officer has placed an emphasis on helping people who are close to him. The villagers say that the Provincial Secretary is also dishonest. However, they have thus far received the government Rs. 5,000 three times.
â€œWe donâ€™t need any aid. Now at least give us a loan at an easy interest rate. We shall show the ocean that beat us down how we can get up by raising an income from that ocean itself. Now we want only thatâ€ (Matara)