TRINITY Annual Conference (TRAC) of The Methodist Church in Singapore is partnering The Methodist Church in Sri Lanka (MCSL) to build 100 new houses in the Batticaloa district of East Sri Lanka for those affected by the devastating tsunami of Dec 26, 2004.
Eighty per cent of the total project cost of $1,059,008 comes from the Tidal Waves Asia Fund (donations from the people of Singapore), which is being administered by the Singapore Red Cross on behalf of the Tsunami Reconstruction Facilitation Committee. The remaining 20 per cent comes from the congregations of our TRAC churches.
A Memorandum of Understanding for the project was signed between TRAC and the Tsunami Reconstruction Facilitation Committee on March 21, 2006 although the in-principle approval for the project was given in June 2005.
From Jan 2, 2005, TRAC had sought to work alongside MCSL to bring relief especially in the Kiran, Batticaloa area through sending several teams to help with medical relief, children’s ministry, debris cleaning, trauma counselling, training of counsellors, providing resources such as food and other relief items as well as facilitating the livelihood of 16 fishing communities TRAC helping to build 100 houses for Sri Lankan tsunami victims through the provision of boats, nets and other related items.
For several months now, both TRAC and MCSL have worked diligently to get all the appropriate approvals and necessary documentation from relevant authorities to facilitate the building of 44 and 56 of these 500 sq ft permanent houses in the 2 GN divisions (villages) of Koralaipattu and Koralaipattu South respectively in the Kalmadhu area, Valaichennai, Batticaloa.
On a recent trip in late February this year, a TRAC team led by its President, the Rev Wee Boon Hup, met the Divisional Secretaries of the two GN divisions, Mrs K. Pathmarajah and Mr V. Thavarajah.
Both these government leaders highlighted the urgent needs and plight of those affected by the tsunami, many of whom are still living in temporary shelters in very uncomfortable circumstances.
Besides visiting the construction sites, the team also interacted with some of the potential beneficiaries whose faces lighted up with the hope that they would finally be getting a two-bedroom timber frame concrete permanent home with tiled roof within the next few months.
Construction work began in March this year with the laying of the foundation stone and is scheduled to be completed by July.
The Rev Juliette Arulrajah is the TRAC Crisis Relief Coordinator
STORY BY JULIETTE ARULRAJAH; PICTURES BY JOSEPH LEE OF PENTECOST METHODIST CHURCH