Navam Perahera to reach out and touch the flood victims

By Ven. Galaboda Siri Gnanissara Thera (Podi Hamuduruwo of Gangarama Temple)

In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Central Bank complex in 1996 it was decided to divert all contributions received for the Navam Perahera to the families of the victims of the destruction. Accordingly the funds were handed over to the then minister in charge, the late Mr Lakshman Jayakody and the usual Perahera was held as a Mal Perahera.

This year, having considered the plight of those who lost everything they possessed due to the recent floods and other natural disasters in the North East, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa, it is decided to allocate a part of the contributions received for the Perahera to provide assistance to the needy in these areas. The Perahera however will be held as usual.

A house inundated in water due to the recent floods in the Dambulla area

The Gangaramaya is now in the process of receiving large quantities of dry rations and other items for distribution among the flood victims. Donations in cash are discouraged and donations in kind are requested by the organizers. These could be handed over to the Gangaramaya Temple at Sri Jinaratane Mawatha, Colombo 2. Already three lorry loads of essential items have been dispatched to Ampara and certain areas in the north. Those in need of these items may contact Mr. Ratnayake, the organizer of Religious Affairs at the Presidential Secretariat.

The unforeseen climatic changes that prevailed recently all over the world had a heavy toll on Sri Lanka too. The displaced persons owing to floods and landslides need immediate assistance. It is our belief that the distribution of essential items and other needs could be successfully handled by the Buddhist temples and other religious centres based in those localities. The dedication of every individual is important. Our countrymen have always been in the forefront whenever a situation of this magnitude arose and their caring and sharing had never been wanting. We request other religious organizations also to participate in this noble act.

Though a period of hardship was witnessed in the past, it is heartening to note that all the reservoirs are now full to the brim, which augurs well for the future agricultural activities. However a large number of small tanks have been destroyed due to the force of the gushing waters. These need immediate reconstruction. The bunds that had been breached need expert attention. The business community therefore should get more involved in this area of activity.

During the time of severe drought in the Hambantota area a few years back, the Gangaramaya along with other philanthropists were in the forefront in restoring sixteen tanks in the district. Deshamanya H K Dharmadasa the Chairman of the Nawaloka Group led the Sri Lankan business community in this task, while the roles played by Mr. Rienzie Wijaytillaka, Chairman of HNB and Mr. Harry Jayawardene should be appreciated. We call upon all Associations, Companies and voluntary organizations to extend their hand to rebuild and bring back prosperity to the affected people.

The provision of utilities, supply of potable water, construction of toilets and sewerage systems are earmarked by the Gangaramaya as priority areas. Already five hundred Pirivenas have been provided with these facilities. In addition, restoration works of 1250 temples are ongoing. More than 5000 temples request assistance in the provision of these basic amenities. We depend on the generosity of donors and well-wishers to accomplish this task.

May the triple Gem Bless You.

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