Sri Lanka: latest news and appeal for help

The devastation and escalating death toll in the Indian Ocean region can leave no one unmoved.

Donate to cwi appeal ’Campaign Sri Lanka’

latest news and appeal for help

The response to disaster appeals around the world expresses far greater humanity and international solidarity among the millions contributing than the slow and ’stingy’ responses of some of the richest governments like the USA and Britain.

Anger is beginning to replace sadness and bewilderment, especially as revelations are made about the lack of early warning systems that could have saved the majority of lives now lost. There is anger, too at the inadequate organising capacities of regional governments which are still hampering vital life-saving operations. Money has been found over decades for the military.

United Socialist Party in Sri Lanka

The CWI can report with great relief, that after heroic efforts to establish the whereabouts of all its members, the United Socialist Party in Sri Lanka has found that it sustained no direct loss of life. The tsunami had crashed into areas where many USP members and their families lived and worked. One Central Committee member in Galle, comrade Piyatilake, was missing for days and the worst was feared. His workplace near the bus station was totally destroyed and two people beside him at the moment the wave struck were swept to their deaths. Piyatilake himself was found to have been severely injured and hospitalised but has now returned to his home to recover fully.

More than 25 USP members and their families in the South and East of the island are homeless, most living in make-shift camps and in urgent need of water, food, clothes and medicine. Many party members are suffering the loss of close relatives. All USP members could face problems of water shortages and the threat of diarrhoea and disease, but those in the worst hit areas will be most susceptible.

The CWI is calling on all its members and supporters to come to the aid of the USP as it organises help and protection for its members. Financial donations can be made through our web-site or by post as explained already. With them we can arrange more shipments of water purifying tablets and medicines. We are also looking into ways of dispatching quickly some clothes and materials to provide shelter, plus basic foods, if that is appropriate.

Political response

While dealing with the very survival of its comrades, the USP will also be trying to get out with posters, leaflets, and papers to make a political response. The comrades will be aiming to expose the real causes of this disaster and the inadequate responses of the government. They will put forward a programme of demands for overcoming it.

Some of these are mentioned in material already on the web-site. Others will be developed as the party comes to terms with the situation. A big struggle will be to forge unity amongst workers and poor people and prevent any outbreaks of communal conflict as the struggle for scarce resources continues.

As the tsunami struck, Sri Lanka was beginning to recover from 20 years of civil war, which ravaged the North of the island and decimated its population. A real prospect of reconstruction existed, however limited under capitalism. Now millions of Sri Lanka’s people and its very economy have been thrown back into a dark night of poverty, shortage and uncertainty.

Permanent solution only through struggle for socialist government

For a full and rapid recovery resources must be poured in, by imperialism – in the form of the World Bank and IMF – who have squeezed the population dry with their neo-liberalism and failed to put a few million into protection from the elements. All foreign debts should be immediately cancelled, not just repayment postponed.

The actual reconstruction needs to be controlled by elected committees of workers and poor people to ensure maximum assistance to those who most need it, regardless of nationality, religion and political affiliation. For a permanent solution to the problems facing the workers and poor of Sri Lanka, the socialist transformation of society is necessary through the establishment of a government of their own directly elected representatives.

The United Socialist Party of Sri Lanka will be redoubling its efforts to build a powerful workers’ party with a socialist programme. Its members need every support they can get in the hour of most need.

Your help

We appeal to you to organise as much financial support as possible in the first full week of 2005. A model appeal sheet is available (see below).

On the 10 January, the comrades of the USP will again set out from Colombo to each of the worst-hit areas, hoping to take supplies for the most needy. Please rush your payments or offers of help to the CWI office – via the web-site, the e-mail or the post.

Donations should be made to:

’Campaign Sri Lanka’

donate online:

Add the words ’Campaign Sri Lanka’ to the comment box.

directly through:

Lloyds TSB,

Leytonstone Branch,

Account number 0023293,

Sort code 20-95-03

or sent to:

Committee for a Workers’ International,

PO Box 3688,

London,

Britain,

E11 1YE

Messages of support can be sent to the USP in Sri Lanka directly:

usp@wow.lk

and should be cc’ed to:

cwi@worldsoc.co.uk (in case the e-mail is not working).

Download appeal sheet

Appeal sheet in pdf format (opens in new window).

Appeal sheet in Word 2 format (opens in new window).

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