Earthquake: Devastation in Sri Lanka

The tragic devastation wreaked by the earthquake and tidal wave in the Indian Ocean has killed tens of thousands of people. In Sri Lanka alone, the death toll has reached 13,000 and is still rising.

A number of members of the United Socialist Party (cwi Sri Lanka) are missing, including comrade Piyatilake, a member of the USP’s Central Committee who was living and working in Galle, one of the towns in the South of Sri Lanka to have been hardest hit by the ’Tsunami’. Relatives of other party members have been killed and the homes of many have been destroyed.

News is being awaited of the fate of USP comrades from the Eastern coastal district – especially those from around Pottuil – where whole villages and towns have been destroyed. We will post more information when we receive it and carry material on the web-site dealing with the response of the USP to the disaster.

Obviously huge resources must found to save the lives of the injured and to provide clean water, food and shelter. Money must be switched from the Sri Lankan military (who have been preparing for a resumption of the island’s civil war) into a massive government programme for the immediate reconstruction of homes and livelihoods. There should be the maximum democratic control over all aid and emergency programmes through elected committees of workers and poor people in each area and nationally. No privileges for the rich and no discrimination on grounds of nationality, religion or political belief!

The blows struck to the United Socialist Party by this tragedy are impossible to estimate. Galle, for example, was an area where the USP was gaining support and had one of its best results in the last election. In the East and in Jaffna, our comrades fought valiantly for the clear socialist programme of the party, including championing full rights to self-determination for the Tamil-speaking population and for minorities in those areas.

The party comrades throughout the island are experiencing a nightmare. They will need the help and solidarity of CWI members and supporters world-wide to overcome the immediate difficulties they face and to rebuild the resources and fighting capacity of the USP.

We are asking all those who wish to give support to the United Socialist Party in the face of this disaster, and to help build its campaigning strength, to send donations to:


’Campaign Sri Lanka’,

c/o Committee for a Workers’ International

PO Box 3688, London, Britain, E11 1YE


Messages of support and solidarity by e-mail (hoping electricity and phones are working):


cc to:

Special financial appeal to all readers of

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December 2004