Tsunami/Earthquake Appeal


Mercifully no one in the area of The Banyan Tree project has suffered from the Indian Ocean tsunami, however there has been devastation, injury and loss of life further south down the coast close to the border with Tamil Nadu.
A particularly hard hit area is around the town of Colachel where there are many small fishing communities. One such is the village of Ritapuram where there is a Convent and school (St. Rita's).
Tom Sutherland knows the sisters and their Convent well, over several years some from the convent have been trained in leaf painting at Trppaadam and they have supplied lace and silks to Torn for craft work in the women's groups of The Banyan Tree including the Friendship Bracelets which many of our supporters have received.

Early in January, Tom and Pastor Sam Kutty visited the area and Convent to assess the situation.

The convent closed its school to accommodate over 100 families who are homeless and who have lost everything. For the immediate future these people are safe, they have food, water, clothing and they have medical care. They cannot return to the beaches because of the danger of disease.

The long term plan is to re-start these families by buying land in safe places, building a small houses and setting up the families again in new homes.
The cost of this is estimated at Rs 50,000 per family. That is approximately £625.

'The Friends of The Banyan Tree', the autonomous organisation under the HHI umbrella, has been running a similar housing scheme, 'Operation Monsoon' for four years and so Tom Sutherland, Philip Matthew and other helpers have good experience in this field.
The aim of The Banyan Tree: Indian Ocean Appeal was to raise funds which will be transferred directly to this Banyan Tree project. Tom Sutherland has responded on our behalf to the needs at Ritapuram and will continue to monitor the funds to re-start devastated families with a new home.
The building of the houses will be the responsibility of the Convent. Tom will check on progress and give feed back to us in the way funds are being used.

This is a 'grass roots' project: small and simple in concept, easily managed and capable of being monitored and assessed by Tom, Philip and others without diverting them from the day to day needs and tasks of The Banyan Tree. Its potential results are huge: a new life for cruelly traumatised families.

As I and Revd. Nigel Douglas were with Tom during the first week of February, we were able to visit Ritapuram and saw for ourselves the situation and reported back on our return.

I recognise that many of our supporters will have already given generously to the national appeals and I have no wish to divert much needed aid from these appeals.
I thank them again for their interest and trust in HHI.

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