Task Force Just Arrived in Sri Lanka

Bonn, 29 December 2004

Colombo. The sixteen-man team of the THW Fast Deployment Unit Water Supply Abroad (SEEWA) landed at 13 o�'clock local time (8 o�'clock MEZ) in the capital of Sri Lanka. From Colombo the task forces will be taken to Galle. The area around the city located in the south of the island belongs to those areas in Sri Lanka that are most severely affected by the inundations.

On behalf of the Federal Ministry of the Interior the THW team will operate two drinking water processing plants in Galle in order to improve the supply of clean water to the population. The plants have an efficiency of 6,000 cubic metres per hour. In addition the SEEWA team will use four pumps to repair the contaminated wells. The local water quality is controlled by means of a mobile drinking water laboratory. Beyond that THW has tools and equipment for the repair of faulty water pipes and electricity cables.

Meanwhile the nineteen-man team of the Fast Deployment Unit Salvage Abroad (SEEBA) has started in the Thai Khao Lak with the support of salvage work and deployment co-ordination. The team had been sent to Phuket in the night of 28 December.

As an instrument of the Federation THW is used in order to carry out fast, reliable and effective help, not only at home but also abroad. With its so-called "Fast Deployment Units" THW takes account of the time factor in the case of emergencies.

THW had already been active in Sri Lanka in May 2003. Devastating rain falls had flooded vast parts of the south of the island. At three locations in the district of Galle drinking water processing plants were built. During the nearly four-week deployment more than 2.1 million litres of clean drinking water were delivered, 179 wells were cleaned and 62 water tanks with 100,000 litres capacity were set up. Beyond that THW drinking water specialists trained local helpers in the professional cleaning of wells, the realisation of laboratory work and the operation of drinking water processing plants.

THW is a disaster control organisation of the Federation. With its highly specialised units THW fully meets the requirements of disaster control and local damage prevention. The structure of THW is unique in the world. As a disaster control organisation THW relies on voluntary commitment and is a partner to people in need. Country-wide more than 76,000 citizens give up their leisure time to work in the 665 THW local communities for the benefit of people in need. The maximum protection of the citizens is ensured thanks to the close co-operation with the fire brigade, other relief organisations, the police as well as the Federal Border Police. In each of the 66 THW "Geschäftsführerbereiche"- distributed in eight federal communities - the components of the local communities complement each other in such a way that the entire deployment spectrum of THW is available to the whole federal territory. So THW specialists can always be where their presence is needed.

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