CREST first team responded from 14 to 20 June 2017 through the delivery of food and school kits during the emergency phase. The scourge of dengue and the occurrence of floods are perennial issues. The recommendations of the first respondent were to counter the post flood Dengue crisis. The current number of Dengue cases has exceeded 100,000 with 300 deaths.
In response CREST had send a team of two members arriving in Colombo on 14 till 19 July 2017. Following the feedback of the previous respondent CK, we were keen to adopt a strategy which will help stem the problem of this dengue epidemic in two designated villages.
Community environmental clean-up and garbage disposal to reduce mosquitoes and flies population
Fogging to kill mosquitoes and flies transmitting diseases
Prevention of dengue spread by distributing mosquito nets
Strengthen local health capacities
Health promotion exercises
Team Member Lead Dr Yoong Sao Chin
Assisted by Edward Tan
Local Sri Lanka Partners
Alliance Development Trust (ADT) which is the development arm of National Christian Evangelical Alliance Sri Lanka (NCEASL)
Summary of Activities:
The two villages were selected on the criteria on high prevalence of dengue cases and willingness of villagers to receive aid to clean environment. Even though the flood waters from the river Kalu Ganga has subsided there were many stagnant pools due to gem digging in the villages. Foliage undergrowth was thick and flood debris was seen in the villages.
Haldola has 150 families surrounding the school Haldola Vidyalaya. The school principal, teachers, 200 students and villagers were present to clean up the environment. The cooperation was excellent. After cleaning the school, we proceeded to the village. Edward bonded extremely well with the children in this village.
With the participatory appraisal and dialogue with the villagers, we commenced clearing debris, destroy breeding areas of mosquitoes; health talks followed by CREST sponsored lunch for the villagers. Local authorities like local health inspector, medical officer, police officers and political leaders were invited as this will strengthen local health capacities to keep environment clean on a long term basis. Mosquito nets will be distributed to villagers and villagers were advised to priorities residents with fever to be kept under the nets.
We faced problems with arranging fogging activities over the weekends. Even though we offered cash incentives for the overtime work, the bureaucracy did not allow the fogging to happen. Understandably there are only two fogging machines for the whole district of Ratnapura.
Muddhuwa has 130 families with a bigger village nearby and near to the town of Ratnapura. The villagers are usually farmers and gem collectors. They are financially better off compared to the earlier Haldola. Like previous villager, they were extremely cooperative. Drains were cleared from silt and rubbish dug out. The debris was collected onto the local council dumpster truck. Local political and health officials were also present.
Pastor Sathees and team will follow up the evangelism work in these predominantly non-believers villages. CREST is a tool to open these areas for the Gospel by way of service to the community.
Hospital distribution of nets 50 nets were distributed to the paediatric ward of the 2,000 bedded provincial Ratnapura hospital. The monk who is on the board of visitors introduced us to the Deputy Director who received the nets to be used for in-house dengue patients.
Salvation for Mr Donald who is the hotel manager was the highlight of this trip. CK and the pastor laid the foundation and he wept when the Gospel was shared. The sinner’s prayer was said verbally and he said he was impressed with the love of Christians to the villagers.
Haldola village, Elapatha Community activities, Health authorities assured us fogging to be done on coming weekday
Muddhuwa village, Ratnapura. Community activities
1. We appreciate the funds from the church in Nanchang which made this trip possible. Our collaboration with their national evangelical bodies NCEASL/ADT made it possible to organise all these activities before we arrived at Ratnapura. This is important because the local partners needed ample time to make all these arrangements
2. The collaboration meeting on Monday 18 July 2017 was extremely useful to introduce each other’s organisation and what we stand for. ADT is very strong in developmental issues while CREST in disaster response. After the meeting we agreed that we had more commonality than we expected. Interesting remarks were
ADT request training for self empowerment to manage local disasters
Exchange of ideas in health programs especially nutrition and child protection
ADT success story in inter-faith cooperation in the National Leprosy programs
90,000 war widows that need help in North Sri Lanka which is the basis of possible future collaboration for Child Protection Program
3. ADT has extensive contacts in Sri Lanka and we manage to maintain contacts with them since 2004. ADT will be sending three staff members for training to Malaysia in September 2017. A lasting impression after CK and our second trip and Pas Sathees, the coordinator for Ratnapura area was extremely efficient in organising what I plan for them. In fact they appreciate that we spell out what need to be organised before our arrival.
4. Finally it would be great if the Nanchang church can send a team to Sri Lanka with CREST to continue this work and possibly obtain on-the-job training as well.
Amount disbursed: LKR 596,627.00
Total amount used directly for relief aid to local community: LKR 539,330 which is 89.8% of amount disbursed.