Following the initial turmoil and confusion, increasing numbers of people are leaving their temporary shelter in SOS Children's Villages emergency camps to return to their homes and rebuild their lives. Relief efforts are therefore continuously being adapted to the changing needs of the survivors of the tsunami.
Officials in India have so far approved the support by SOS Children's Villages of four fishing villages in the most affected south eastern areas of the country. Families in the villages of Pudukuppam, Chinnavaikal, Kannagi Nagar and Akkampettai will be provided with temporary shelters, dry rations and fishing boats and other equipment necessary to rebuild livelihoods. Once suitable sites have been established, and the land cleared of the remaining debris from the tidal waves, permanent dwellings will also be constructed. In total SOS Children's Villages India expects to assist some 316 families and 800 children.
SOS activity centres continue to provide parents with important day care support, to enable them to start rebuilding their lives themselves. A total of nine activity centres are currently in operation, caring for 720 children and also providing essentials such as medication and school books. It is planned that a total of 20 such activity centres will be up and running by mid January.
Further efforts are underway to support families that have lost their main breadwinner. In particular support will be offered to women-headed households to enable these women to combine the tasks of both mother and providing for their families.
Further details of emergency aid in southern India in recent news
A consignment of emergency supplies from Austria reached Sri Lanka on 5 January. Four refrigerators, medicines, towels, bedding, and basic food stuffs were among the supplies that will be distributed among SOS Children's Villages various emergency centres and programmes around the island.
Since 30 December, SOS Children's Village Galle has been working with the Faculty of Medicine Karapitiya to provide essential medical assistance to children and families. A mobile clinic has been working its way through the southern districts of Galle and Matara and has so far treated 1500 people for their injuries and has also provided vital typhoid vaccinations.
As in India, many families have started returning to their villages and what is left of their homes. In order to assist these families, who have lost most of their belongings including cooking equipment, SOS Children's Village Galle began providing these families with cooked meals during the short term. The organisation has also been instrumental with the distribution of drinking water and essentials such as clothing, which had been donated by a Sri Lankan media company.
SOS youths have also played their part in relief operations by assisting with the clean up of essential service buildings such as the police station and the Women's and Children's Bureau in Galle.
Further details of emergency aid in Sri Lanka in recent news
Along the eastern coast of the island many towns and villages are still completely cut off by the flood waters and due to the damage caused to roads and bridges. The Sri Lankan army has now moved into the area to repair infrastructure which will enable greater effectiveness of emergency efforts. Within these areas, SOS Children's Villages Sri Lanka has been working to identify those families most in need of financial support to get their lives back on track. Therapeutic activities and counselling will also be provided to children and families that survived the catastrophe and is a vital element of SOS Children's Villages' work in these areas where many people have lost everything.