The torrential rain due to the tropical storm that occurred in May swept through a large part of Sri Lanka. The rain caused floods and landslides around the country, leaving more than 300,000 people affected with over 200 deaths. In response to this calamity, AMDA Headquarters sent a coordinator in June to launch emergency relief with AMDA Sri Lanka, St. John Ambulance Sri Lanka and a local Lions Club. The joint relief team provided aid supplies and medical assistance to local schools and a temple in two hard-hit villages of Malwana and Kolonnawa in the outskirt of Colombo. The relief work was funded by Rissho-Kosei-kai’s Donate-A-Meal Movement, a movement dedicated to peace building around the world.
For the post-disaster assessment and to provide additional support, on August 2nd AMDA coordinators and two students from AMDA High School Club visited Sri Rahula Maha Vidyalaya, a school located close to Kolonnawa where the relief work took place. The team also visited Camila School, which has a longstanding relationship with AMDA, to determine how the recovery was going after three months from the disaster.
Sri Rahula Maha Vidyalaya:
Located near Kolonnawa, Sri Rahula Maha Vidyalaya was one of the schools affected by the flood. This time, AMDA donated books and sport equipment while organizing a student exchange between AMDA High School Club and its students.
The students from Sri Rahula Maha Vidyalaya who took part in the student exchange were the members of St. John Ambulance’s Kitty Program for primary school children. About 40 students aged six to twelve joined the event. Students from AMDA High School Club introduced Japanese “origami” paper craft while entertaining them with Japanese music played on a Japanese flute. Both participants had such a great time with each other that all felt reluctant to leave at the end. AMDA also donated dictionaries, popular books in Sri Lanka as well as books on Japan to be added to the collection at the school library. Sport equipment for cricket, volleyball, soccer and others were presented to the school as well. Upon receiving the above goods, Mr. Rajapaksha, the school principal, said, “AMDA was the first organization to help our school after the flood occurred. At the time, most of the houses around here were under water.”
According to Mr. Rajapaksha, the houses of most of the students (a total of 1,140 aged seven to nineteen) were affected by the flood, and it wreaked havoc on the school where the principal had to “swim home” after work at night as water level was rising. Now, the situation seemed to have been normalized for the most part, however, desks and chairs that were once submerged were still left outside the classrooms.
Camila School in the suburb of Colombo is an institution for people with disabilities which has a longtime relationship with AMDA. It is a facility that houses 47 disabled people of all ages. Foreseeing that the rainfall would get heavier each day, the school managed to avoid getting into serious trouble by relocating its residents to the upland during the month of May. However, part of the school building was damaged by the flood and has been out of use ever since.
After the needs assessment, AMDA donated musical instruments such as keyboard, small drums, keyboard-harmonicas as well as water purifier to the school. One student was so happy that he played the keyboard immediately after receiving it.
AMDA will keep an eye on the region by staying in touch with AMDA Sri Lanka.