In Sri Lanka, It's Fishing Communities First

ROME, JAN. 11, 2005 ( Priority aid in Sri Lanka is being given to fishing communities in the wake of the deadly tsunami.

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Assessments made by the diocesan Caritas of Galle, in the coastal belt between Benota and Hambanthota, reveal that the damage is dramatic.

About 80% of Sri Lanka’s coastal fishing fleet, representing some 23,000 vessels, was destroyed by the Dec. 26 tsunami.

Fishermen said that each one of them will need $2,000 to $6,500 to acquire a small vessel and fishing equipment. Such aid would guarantee each family a minimum subsistence income.

At the same time, Caritas-Sri Lanka is implementing specific aid programs for the replacement of the fishing fleet. Fishing communities are being sheltered in churches in the affected areas.

Caritas is also distributing school material to children, who returned to the classroom Monday, and help-in-kind made available by private donors.

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