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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 January 2005, 16:55 GMT
Sri Lanka Relief log: 31 December
Daisy Lowe, the president of the Sri Lankan Association of South Wales, has gone out to Sri Lanka to help in the aftermath of the tsunami which has left nearly 30,000 in the country dead.

She is sending back diary reports from the country to BBC News Online.

FRIDAY 31 DECEMBER 2004

Called into the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Centre to see if there were any Welsh tourists stranded in Sri Lanka after the tsunami.

The guests were in the centre, courtesy of the tourist board.

The half-moon shaped foyer was well organized with desk for representatives of the different embassies, tour operators, internet and e-mail facility etc.

Boat wrecked by tsunami
One of many fishing boats destroyed by the tsunami
Tourists were coming and going in all types of transport - trishaws, embassy vehicles, tour mini buses.

There were three different foreign camera crews interviewing and filming.

Accommodation was provided in the large conference centre - very basic, a mattress on the ground and somewhere for them to keep what belongings they had salvaged.

I enquired of the embassy staff if there was anyone from Wales and was told there were only eight British tourists there.

They were not classified into regions and she did not detect a Welsh accent.

Food was provided, and plenty of Sri Lankan staff were on hand to help.

On the way out, I noticed enterprising pavement sellers had set up stall outside the B.M.I.C.H selling bottled water, mattresses!

I proceeded to Colombo Fort, the business district of the capital, by trishaw, which is a three-wheeler taxi.

Sombre

The offices of the Sri Lankan Airlines was situated in a building called the World Trade Centre. Very plush inside. On the third floor I met the manageress of the ticketing section to get my flight schedule altered.

She took down details of the aid appeal and promised to come back with authority to ship the aid by air from Heathrow.

In the afternoon, had two interviews, one a three-way interview with Eromi and the Evening News Bulletin, the second with [BBC Radio Wales presenter] Nicola Heywood Thomas.

Woman, Sri Lanka
There is little good news for the disaster survivors
The evening being New Year's Eve was very sombre. All parties were cancelled.

I had a meal at my brothers' and had an early night.

Normally on the stroke of 12, to usher the New Year in, fireworks deafen the night and church bells peal all around the country.

There was a deathly hush except for passing traffic.

No Christmas tree lights were lit in any homes from the 26th.

Monies allocated for the parties were donated to the relief effort.

My nephew Lakshman with his younger brother were in touch with various relief groups were busy buying specific items requested like ladies' and men's underwear and sending them in vans to the different areas in the north and the east.

This is not for any prejudicial reasons but simply that aid was slow reaching these areas and some are still difficult to get to.

Individuals and small groups are doing a lot of relief work with funds donated by friends and out of their own pocket. The prices of dry provisions is going up all the time as people buy for the relief effort as well as people stocking up in case there is a shortage.

These provisions are imported from countries like Pakistan and stocks can be replenished quickly I am sure.

SATURDAY NEW YEAR'S DAY 2005

It cannot be as bad as the last!!!

A local astrologer had predicted this disaster I hear and has forecast another more severe one on 3 January. Watch this space!

Hardly anyone stirred in the capital.

Some did get to church. I had a normal lunch with my sister's grandchildren at home.


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