IWMI’s headquarters have been
hosted in Sri Lanka since its inception (1984). IWMI has worked in
many of the affected areas for at least 15 years. This both gives
us strong motivation to try to help the people we have worked with
and has also given us expertise that can be put to good use. Therefore
to support current relief efforts underway in our host country, IWMI
has planned its efforts in three phases:
1) Immediate emergency relief:
IWMI sent emergency supplies through six
missions starting on December 27th to affected areas in the east
and south of Sri Lanka (including Galle, Baticaloa and Ampara).
We also transported victims back to safe areas. Given the aid now
coming into the country our contribution to emergency relief has
2) Launching an IWMI and CGIAR System wide
appeal to support rebuilding of communities:
Today, the 5th January 2005 IWMI
is launching a CGIAR system wide appeal. The money raised through
this appeal will support at least two coastal communities, one each
on the south (predominantly Sinhalese and Muslim) and east (predominantly
Tamil and Muslim) coasts of the island. The money raised through
this appeal will be used to re-build and re-develop the communities;
we are in the process of identifying them.
3) Action based on institutional capacity:
IWMI will try to contribute
to specific activities where we can use our experience and expertise.
The primary effort to date is in the area of remote sensing and
GIS. The IWMI GIS/RS unit is working with an UK based NGO, MapAction,
in preparation of situation maps that are updated twice a day. The
11 strong MapAction team is based in the Centre for National Operations
(CNO) attached to the Presidential Secretariat. They specialize
in provision of mapping in disaster situations.
IWMI GIS staff are working in shifts to give 24-hour coverage.
IWMI has provided two vehicles for GPS survey teams and has provided
hardware and software. The IWMI team is acquiring free high-resolution
imagery from the Indian National Remote Sensing Agency. Other data
sets are being collected and processed.
IWMI is assessing opportunities to provide technical
expertise related to water quality monitoring, assessing water infrastructure
damage and post-disaster rapid rural appraisal techniques.
In addition, IWMI will host a team of 15 from
the World Food Program (WFP) at its headquarters and the IWMI Embilipitiya
field station has been made available to the UNHCR. IWMI field staff,
equipment and vehicles are made available to relief agencies.
We thank you for all your messages of support
and prayers. It is a very hard time for the whole region and your
support will be greatly appreciated, especially in raising funds
for the appeal that we are launching today. If you, your colleagues,
families or friends wish to contribute to the appeal please send
donations to the following accounts. Further updates on IWMI’s
relief effort will be posted on the IWMI web site