Cleaning Houses and Drinking Water Wells affected by the Tsunami
Cleaning Houses and Drinking Water Wells affected by the Tsunami Directors and Managers of the MJF Group met in December 2004 and identified the need for emergency assistance in cleaning wells for drinking water and also assisting with cleaning houses filled with sludge after the tsunami. The MJF Charitable Foundation funded equipment and materials required for the two stage mission, which was completed by volunteers from the Dilmah companies headed by W. Upali, MJF Group Engineering Manager.
The first programme was launched on 1st, 2nd of January 2005, in the vicinity of the 21st mile post of Galle road in Aluthgama. The second programme was on 8th and 9th in the vicinity of 57th mile post in Maggone. In Aluthgama two volunteer teams from Dilmah Engineering started early morning at about 4.30am. from Peliyagoda premises & reached Aluthgama at about 6 am. Maggona project was a combined effort both from Engineering and Production departments. They were equipped with all necessary equipment such as generators, pumps, high pressure cleaning equipment, bleaching powder, etc to carryout efficient & clean job.
Having Seen the extent of damage to the house & property & life, it was a shock to the team which boosted their commitment to help them as much as possible. Most of the personal belongings of the residents had been taken away by the waves, which were 20-25 feet above the ground. The left over items in those houses could be seen on their floor contaminated badly with sand & mud and of no further use. It was a time when people recovering from a state of trauma, beginning to think as to how and where to start.
When they came to know that we were there to clean the wells, they welcomed us highly, and offered their fullest co-operation, to start the whole process of washing & cleaning the property.
All the wells except one or two were full of sea water, partly broken, with a lot of rubbish, lots of stones, household equipment, pieces of wood and cadjan. Out of the two teams one team started cleaning the houses that those were between the Galle road and the railway line, and the other team was cleaning the area next to the Railway line.
In certain cases team members even had to get down into the well to remove the debris and impurity. Each team used two pumps and a generator to pump out water from those wells. In some cases the team helped to wash and clean houses using high-pressure water guns. The team worked tirelessly till the dusk and was able to complete 90, (47+43) wells within 4 days.
I take this opportunity to thank the Chairman and the Directors of Dilmah as well as the Trustees of the MJF Charitable Foundation for giving us this opportunity to launch this program. May merits accrued by this meritorious deed be shared by every volunteer.