Reply To: (Revised): Sri Lankan Airlines and donations


message posted to Oriental Bird Club email group:

Forwarding a message from Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, whom most group
members will know as the editor of the Sri Lanka Wildlife News which
I regularly forward to OB. Obviously, the situation described applies
to one degree or another in all of the areas affected by the tsunami.
The message is that many of the areas are dependent on tourism and
would like our support as soon as they have been able to pick up the

Best wishes


Krys Kazmierczak
[email protected]

Original Message

From: “Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne” Sent: Friday, December 31, 2004 1:42 PM
Subject: Post Tsunami – Sri Lanka

Dear All,

Under the circumstances, I am sure you will excuse the generic note.
I am
sorry that I have not been in contact with you’ll. But I know my
colleagues have kept some of you in the loop on the tsunami which has

tragically cost a lot of lives in Sri Lanka.

The Yala-Tissa-Kirinda area experienced a heavy loss of life. The
loss of lives of at a Jetwing Hotel was at Yala Safari Game Lodge.
Yala Safari Game Lodge was totally destroyed with staff and guests
lives. The total death toll could be as high as fifty. I went down
senior colleagues as soon as we heard of the devastation and spent
days working with search teams. We are still engaged in tracing
and relief is being provided to staff who are affected. The time
recovering bodies of the dead, were the worst days of my life.

By the fourth day, many of the dead had been buried and the thoughts
the local communities turned to their future. They don’t want to live
relief aid. Many people from park staff to jeep drivers to wayside
owners asked me to re-start business as soon as possible. They
said that the best way we can help is to bring tourists back and re-
the local economy.

We need a week or two to come to terms with the human tragedy and to
ensure that humanitarian efforts are fully supported. After that
together with others wish to get the economy back on track so that
can re-build their shattered lives.

The Yala Village hotel is virtually undamaged. All of the hotels in
Tissamaharama are intact. In my search for survivors, I visited many
the properties and also reassured them that we will bring visitors as
as possible. The staff of many of these properties have also suffered
death of friends or relatives and are also very anxious of their
livelihoods. They want the dignity and security of employment.

Many people in Sri Lanka depend on tourism for a livelihood, directly
indirectly. Over 70% of the tourism infrastructure in terms of room
is intact and all of the hotels away from the coast are fully
One of the best ways for overseas nationals to support the local
communities is to resume travelling to the island, after allowing Sri

Lanka a couple of weeks to re-group.

All Jetwing Hotels are open for business other than the Yala Safari
Lodge, which was fully damaged by the recent disaster.

Finally, I know all of you wish the best for all of us in Sri Lanka.
If I
am extremely brief in any of my replies please excuse the brevity as
are going through a difficult time.

Best wishes


Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
Jetwing Eco Holidays
Wildlife & Luxury Travel
Jetwing House, 46/26, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 02 , Sri Lanka

Tel: ++94-11-2345700 or ++94-11-2381201 Fax:++94-11-2441289.
[email protected], [url][/url]

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2005/01/06 15:26