SRI LANKA 28/02/2005

Again I am translating for you my last E-mail in Spanish (sorry for my horrible English):

I just came back for the Jornadas Leonísticas, organized by the Lions Club of Antequera, I have to congratulate this club as they have been almost perfect. I can say that, as I have been in over 25 Jornadas in Andalucía and Canary Islands.

I must say that our member Jesús, is still in Sri Lanka and will be coming back on the 8th., when I have all the information I will send it out to all of the Clubs.

I would like to say that in the Cabinet meeting held on the 25th. of February, the decision taken by our Council of Governors has been reaffirmed. In other words, Spanish Lions has taken officially the decision of the Construction of houses en Sri Lanka. I presented all the documentation I have, including, pictures, plans, maps, and budgets we have. Some Lions have made interesting questions, which I would like to answer for all of you. Also here you have a picture of the model of the house that is going to be built.

Why are we talking about different costs, from 1.200 to 2500 Euros? First of all it's because the cost of construction can be different, because the conditions of the land, distances, preparation of the land, pre-installations (if they exist or not, and in what conditions they are in), etc. Can you image the quantity of different elements can effect the final cost of a house! But for me, the main confusion is the interpretation of the documentation we have relieved from Sri Lanka, which is as following.

Cost Breakdown (in euros)
- Personnel: Project Coordinator (remuneration inclusive of transport, and other expenses per month) 465

- Clearing of debris (per house) 100

- Preparation of land (leveling/filling) 150

- Electrical Wiring & Fittings 150

- Construction of a house (inclusive of materials & labor) 1,200
As you can see the cost of the house is 1.200 Euros, but not the final cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The second question is about the urgency of the constructions? I can confirm you that the construction can't start until it has been approved by the Government and has been licensed by the school of architects from each district. This is a process that has not been finish yet. You must think that after a tragedy like this, first you must bury the dead and find de love ones, after you must give the more urgent necessities, as food, water, blankets, sanitary attention, etc. Next comes a rapid solution for shelter, which has been solution but many NGO's present there, including the Lions Club. I can tell you that a few days ago, taking to the District Governor Kassapa of Sri Lanka, he mention to me, that day 60 containers of Tents where received form the Lions of Korea, I don't know how many tents come in a container, but it must be a lot.

The Lions of Sri Lanka, as our Foundation (LCIF) has no interest in doing things rapidly and badly, it's preferably to do things slower but well. A house is something that has to be permanent solution. In other words, we are in the third face, as PIP Lee explains very clearly in his letter, which I am sending to you at the end of this E-mail.

As some sad news, I have been told that a Lions Club of Batticaloa, 15 of 19 members from the Club die on the 26th. of December, as they where doing an activity on the beach, how horrible...... Please read the following letter.

Message from
Past International President Tae-Sup Lee
Dear Fellow Lions,

By now you are all too familiar with the devastation and suffering caused by the tsunami. But I want to make sure another image comes to mind as well when thinking of the disaster. This is an image of a Lion writing a check to LCIF. Never have Lions responded so generously, so quickly, so selflessly to a global disaster. We at LCIF and LCI have been humbled by the massive outpouring of support.

To date, Lions have donated more than US$2.2 million to LCIF for tsunami relief. More than $1.5 million has been pledged by Lions' districts. LCIF will easily make its initial commitment of US$5 million for tsunami relief (half to come from LCIF reserves and the other half from donations).

Lions in the United States have contributed more than US$1.5 million to our tsunami fund. English Lions donated US$225,000. Korean Lions US$200,000, Irish Lions US$136,000 and Swedish Lions US$120,000. More donations will come in from these Lions. The Irish Lions, for example, expect to contribute as much as US$410,000.

Other Lions have pledged generous sums as well. The Australian Lions pledged $1 million in Australian dollars (about US$775,000) and the Belgian Lions pledged US$325,000. The Japanese Lions will make a major donation. The Lions of France plan to donate at least US$150,000.

Lions from around the world have made personal sacrifices to make these donations. I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation, gratitude and admiration to all Lions who have contributed. Together, Lions are reaching out to those most in need in South Asia. Moved by the immense suffering, Lions are doing all they can to help people and communities get back on their feet.

Even as Lions in South Asia continue to work long hours providing relief camps with vital supplies, LCIF is energetically working with South Asian Lions on long-term recovery plans. We are making plans with committees of leading Lions to rebuild homes, schools and orphanages. Long after the TV news crews have left, long after the attention of the world is elsewhere, LCIF and Lions will be on the ground in South Asia making sure communities are rebuilt.

Final plans have not been approved yet, but I can tell you that Lions in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and India propose to construct inexpensive but sturdy and comfortable homes as well as primary schools and high schools, health clinics, hospitals, water wells and child welfare centers. Lions also will provide psychological treatment and physical rehabilitation both for children and adults.

In many instances Lions in South Asia will aid tsunami victims in remote or underserved regions that other aid organizations will bypass. Lions will make sure that our assistance primarily goes to people who otherwise would have to fend for themselves.

LCIF's recovery efforts will be efficient, effective and expeditious. I can say this with confidence because of LCIF's strong record of rebuilding after disasters (such as after an earthquake in 2001 in Gujarat, India) and because it partners with Lions on the ground, who know their communities and how to get things done. The generosity and know-how of Lions, combined with the financial support and organizational skills of LCIF, will help untold numbers of people put their lives back together.

An LCIF-funded eyeglass mission to South Asia has shown the kind of results we can quickly achieve. Many South Asians lost their eyeglasses when the tsunami destroyed their homes, and few can afford a new pair. Past International Director Bill Iannaccone is currently in Sri Lanka leading a 12-member eyeglass team. They plan to distribute 25,000 pairs of glasses and teach the Sri Lankan Lions how to use two donated lensometers and run an eyeglass recycling operation. The new skill will allow the Sri Lankan Lions to fit another 50,000 pair of recycled eyeglasses already sent there.

Donations to LCIF are a highly efficient and effective way to help people impacted by the tsunamis. Every donated dollar goes directly to relief efforts; LCIF's administrative costs are paid for by interest on investments.

We are at a unique chapter in Lions' history. Our commitment to service has never been demonstrated so convincingly. Lions worldwide have given LCIF and Lions in South Asia the support they need to rebuild shattered communities. Day after day, we will continue to help the people of South Asia recover from their devastating tragedy.

Dr. Tae-Sup Lee,
LCIF Chairperson

How can I help?
Donations to LCIF will enable local Lions to provide basic necessities to tsunami victims. A donation will help a child or adult receive essential provisions.

Donations for tsunami relief from Dec. 26, 2004, to March 31, 2005, are eligible for MJF recognition. These must be donations that fully provide for an MJF through a US$1,000 donation. The Melvin Jones Fellow does not have to be named at the time the donation is made.

Using tsunami relief donations to provide for MJF recognition is an option for clubs and districts. Be sure to indicate whether you want MJF recognition when sending in the donation. LCIF prefers that districts and clubs not request MJF recognition when donated funds are secured as the result of large-scale solicitation of the public.

Whether or not MJF recognition is obtained, donations for tsunami relief count toward an individual’s and a club’s cumulative giving totals to LCIF, which help qualify an individual and club for various award programs.

LCIF’s normal policy is that MJF recognition is not allowed for designated donations. The LCIF board of trustees made an exception to this policy in January to encourage donations for tsunami victims. Prior exceptions also were made for the SightFirst Campaign and donations for Sept. 11 relief.

What are LCIF’s long-term plans to assist recovery in South Asia?
LCIF provides immediate relief and long-term reconstruction after a disaster. LCIF is not only helping people stay alive after the tsunami but it also will rebuild communities for years to come. The real impact of LCIF’s assistance to South Asia will be fully realized in the next several years as LCIF partners with Lions to rebuild homes, schools and community centers. This long-term approach plays to the strength of LCIF and Lions, who belong to their communities, understand local needs and know how to get things done.

If you have any questions, I am here to help and answer these questions, but don't make them to difficult. WE ALL NEED YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT.

Yours sincerely in Lionism.

PDG Luis Domínguez Calderón
Asesor de Relaciones Internacionales MD 116
C/ Málaga, 2
29650 Mijas (Málaga) - España

Sent on the 28/02/2005