Progress Report on Assistance provided to the victims of the Easter Sunday Bomb attack by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
In the aftermath of the terrible attacks that took place in Sri Lanka on 21st April 2019, Easter Sunday, which unfortunately caused death and destruction to not only a large number of Catholic devotees, but also to members of other religious communities, and caused immense damage to the economy of our country.
His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, together with Seth Sarana Caritas the Social Arm of the Archdiocese of Colombo responded quickly by establishing the Relief Fund to provide the medical assistance, counselling of the traumatized, scholarships for children who have lost one or both their parents, houses for those who have lost their breadwinners or may lose their house due to not being able to pay the mortgages, etc.
A Committee was appointed by His Eminence, headed by the two Auxiliary Bishops of Colombo to ascertain the needs and present to His Eminence their recommendations for action. In the last 5 months, there has been significant progress in the relief work. The Archbishop has provided 387 households with emergency relief, focusing on the most vulnerable: women, children and the critically injured persons.
To meet the most urgent needs in the immediate aftermath, a sum of Rs.30,460,000/- was provided as medical assistance to 316 individual in 245 families, while a sum of Rs.34,190,000/- was disbursed among 329 families as livelihood support. An amount of Rs.3,800,000/- from the Relief Fund established by His Eminence was distributed among 109 families to secure their lost income.
The Archdiocese of Colombo together with the other working partners, both Government and Non – Governmental organizations have responded to the urgent needs of the victims and their families focused on alleviating the immense human sufferings caused by this unexpected tragedy. This objective was achieved through the tailor made Psycho–Social Pastoral care of the victims.
The response moved into the recovery phase in June 2019, with the goal of building resilience, restoring families affected, empowering people with skills and opportunities to sustain themselves and all functions aimed to support the effective implementation that would benefit the affected families.
Seth Sarana Easter Sunday Tragedy Response has three principles to guide the interventions to ensure that the response is appropriate, effective and efficient.
In consultation with His Eminence the Archbishop, relief assistance was categorized into three major intervention areas, which are the Pastoral Aspect, Psychological Aspect and Social Aspect.
There are some issues we have to face on Housing requirements in Colombo. Discussions are going on with Government officials on this matter. At Katuwapitiya, 2 lands were bought for this purpose and the it has been proposed that the Government will construct the houses for the victims.
The other issue we are facing is the loans and debts that the victims have to settle. It is rather impossible for us to attend to these since it involves huge amounts of money.
The following financial illustration demonstrates the holistic approach of the development work for the victims. Here we have not included the 10 million rupees given to the Zion Church to support their victims.
The above short report provides you a brief on what has been done so far and how the monies have been utilized by His Eminence the Archbishop together with the members of the appointed Relief Committee and Seth Sarana Caritas Colombo. The full report will be published once the major work has been completed. However, it should be noted that some of the relief work, such as medical treatment, scholarships, etc. will be ongoing.