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April 24, 2017

Good Friday Dump Collapse Strands Sri Lankans

General Cox meets with survivors—assures them of the army’s ongoing support

General André Cox joined a team that was distributing more than 700 pairs of slippers (sandals) to people who had lost everything.

The Salvation Army in Colombo, Sri Lanka, is working alongside government and humanitarian agencies to support people who lost their homes when a high waste dump — 300 feet high collapsed on Good Friday, engulfing more than 100 houses. Good Friday also marked the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Salvationists were providing meals for about 550 people. More than 1,000 residents saw their homes either destroyed or weakened and found shelter in local schools and with family and friends. Government emergency workers continue to work on clearing the disaster site, and a spokesperson said the dump will be relocated.

Salvationists provided meals for about 550 people.

THE international leaders of The Salvation Army, General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries), met with survivors and brought encouragement to relief workers, including police, military and medical personnel. 

With a team of Salvation Army officers, the General and Commissioner Cox visited both the disaster site and a local school that has become a temporary shelter for approximately 200 people who have been left homeless. The couple moved among hundreds of people, bringing their personal greeting and interest to as many as possible. 

General Cox assured survivors of The Salvation Army’s ongoing support. He also encouraged government and humanitarian relief agencies to work together towards solving the problems created by the dump’s collapse, emphasising the imperative of providing a timely resolution to people’s long-term security needs. He stressed that, as a Christian movement, The Salvation Army follows the example of Jesus Christ and offers its services without discrimination. 

Major P. Ranjith Senaratne, leader of the Army’s Western Division in Sri Lanka, says the tragedy will impact people’s lives for years to come. “Many people are in shock,” he explains. “Salvation Army officers have been on hand to talk with victims as well as to provide for their immediate needs. Some have lost loved ones and many have lost their homes and need our support, both now and into the future.’

The Salvation Army will work with other organizations and government agencies to provide longer-term solutions for those displaced by the dump’s collapse. A government spokesperson said the site will be cleaned up and the dump relocated.

Report by Major Peter McGuigan, The Salvation Army IHQ

Savation Army work begain in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on 26 January 1883 under the leadership of Captain William Gladwin.

Child development centers/remand homes and child day care centers continue to serve children and young people, and homes for the elderly provide essential care for senior citizens who do not have family to care for them. The Safe Water and Livelihood Development Project and mobile medical clinics work proactively to prevent and detect chronic kidney disease which is prevalent in some parts of the island as a reslut of toxic agents in the drinking water.


Officers: 148 (97 Active/Retired 5) Cadets 4

Corps: 44   Institutions: 15

Senior Soldiers: 4,074 | Adherents: 896 | Junior Soldiers: 660


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