Receding waters of the tsunami that devastated
the South West coast on 26th December 2004
KBT response to the tsunami –
Sir Cyril de Zoysa Housing Complex, Balapitiya
A family ‘resurrected’ from the devastation
of the tsunami at their new home in Balapitiya
The devastating tsunami that struck Sri Lanka on 26th December left an estimated 35,000 people dead and a staggering 500,000 displaced. KBT’s present Chairman experienced first-hand the raging waters as he was in Kalutara at a meeting of the Trustees when the tsunami struck.
26th December was also Unduvap Poya or the full moon day of December, a day of religious significance to Buddhists. As is customary on all Poya Days, KBT had organised religious events and had prepared meals and refreshments for devotees visiting the Kalutara Bōdhi. In the aftermath of the disaster, these meals were augmented and were utilised to provide relief to the tsunami victims. While this action met a most immediate need, efforts were made to regain the use of ancestral lands of the de Zoysa family in Balapitiya (in the Southern coastal belt of Sri Lanka), which had been acquired by the Government in the 1970s. This was successfully accomplished and in June 2005, KBT commenced the construction of a complex of 51 houses comprising 44 twin house units and seven single house units.
The major contribution of Rs. 20 million to this project was through the generosity of Mrs Ursula Beier of Germany – which is testament to the trustworthy reputation enjoyed by the trustees of KBT in being able to muster support of such magnitude.
KBT action is not usually unilateral, but is often co-operative and co-ordinated. The beneficiaries in this exercise were selected by the Government Agent. In addition to the housing project, other measures were also adopted to render assistance to the victims of the tsunami such as the provision of relief material and counselling services. KBT also set up a fund to assist the victims to which devotees and well-wishers were encouraged to contribute, thereby widening the scope of aid. The housing scheme was an impressive act of philanthropy, which will stand out in the annals of the history of KBT, and the private sector humanitarian efforts in Sri Lanka.
Tsunami Scholarship Fund
The Visākha Children's Home
Sir Cyril de Zoysa Elders' Home
Mrs. Violet Yakandawela, Chairperson, National
Forum of Visually Handicapped Women of the
Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped,
addressing a gathering at the Kalutara Bōdhi when
a copy of the Dhammapada in the Braille language
was ceremonially presented to the Federation by KBT.