20/11/204 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society hosted the “T10 Summit” in view of the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami by inviting back the Partner National Societies who worked in the Tsunami Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Programme in Sri Lanka.
Over 45 delegates from 18 National Societies were present for the Summit, which gave them the opportunity to have a look at how their support many years ago continues to have an impact n the lives of the people they served since the tsunami.
The three-day Summit allowed the Partners to get a glimpse of how things are at the moment and to discuss as to how the lessons learnt from the tsunami operation can be adopted to other programmes.
Meanwhile on the first day of the Summit all attending partners were felicitated at a grand ceremony held at the Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society.
Over 700 people, who included, past staff, members of the public, diplomatic community, Ambassadors and other Business Leaders were present at the occasion.
All Delegates of the Partner National Societies present at the occasion was escorted ceremoniously to the main auditorium.
President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Jagath Abeysinghe along with the members of the Governance, Senior Management, Volunteers and Staff led the process at the event. A two minutes silence was also observed in respect to all who lost their lives in the Indian Ocean Tsunami ten years ago.
Hon. Deputy Minister of Water Supply & Drainage Ms. Nirupama Rajapakse who was very much involved in the tsunami operation on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka was present at the occasion. Member of Parliament Hon. Gayantha Karunathilake representing the Opposition were also present.
Addressing the gathering Director General of Sri Lanka Red Cross Mr. Tissa Abeywickrama thanked all who gave their all for the rebuilding and reconstruction of Sri Lanka after an unfathomable tragedy.
“ According to IFRC records, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has spent more than 730 Million Swiss Francs for the Post Tsunami Recovery Program in Sri Lanka. We remember with profound gratitude over 75 Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies, some of them are here today; American, Austrian, Canadian, Chinese, Finnish, German, Hong Kong Branch of Red Cross Society of China, Japanese, Kuwaiti, Norwegian, Qatar, Singapore, Swedish, Taiwan Red Cross Organization of Red Cross Society of China, and IFRC and ICRC for their overwhelming support to us” said the Director General.
He further acknowledged the Diplomatic community, the UN, NGOs & INGOs for their generosity and all other individual and Institutional philanthropy.
Further on he said “with highest honour we express our gratefulness to the Government of Sri Lanka and its authorities for guiding, coordinating and facilitating us in our service delivery to the vulnerable communities as an auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian field.”
Afterwards all partners who were present was awarded a plaque stating the gratitude of the Sri Lankan people for their support.
Meanwhile the Head of Delegation for the South Asia Regional Delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies Mr. Simon Missiri, The Head of Operation for Asia Pacific Zone of IFRC Mr. Martin Faller & the Secretary General of German Red Cross Mr. Clemens Waldberg addressed the gathering.
After the Commemoration Ceremony all delegates attending the Summit was given an opportunity to visit their project sites in various parts of Sri Lanka. Most partners visited the sites in Eastern Sri Lanka where they engaged with beneficiaries and had discussions with local leaders to get an understanding of how things are today.