Monday, January 24, 2005

University of Ruhuna

I made contact with Dr. Sanath Hettiarachhi of the University of Ruhuna – he is of the Botany department there and is one of the leaders of the disaster relief efforts. I have know Kanthi Yapa of Ruhuna physics for a long time and since she was in Florida on her sabbatical she put me in contact with Sanath.

They have been collecting all the data on the impacts on the Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts. They had been doing water quality analysis – UofR is well equipped for this. In the science faculty, 26 students are known to have been affected and would be needing assistance. The losses were such as loss of parents or their livelihoods such as fishing gear, copra machines. He identified the greatest need for a counseling service and scholarships in dealing with the losses of the University students – although his focus was on the Science faculty and the University itself – they are of course interested in the regional problems.

A team of Chinese scientists are due in Matara to study the role of mangroves on the Tsunami’ s impacts and he is due to go around with them and prepare a report. He agreed to participate in the IRC’s and will register shortly. I suggested that the requests for scholarships and livelihood assistance may be the sort of thing that may find quick support from people who want to help.