was born in Sri Lanka, he has served in the Royal Air Force and
he moved to Gloucester because his children went to school in the
city. He divides his time between his Gloucester home and his native
recently visited us here at BBC Gloucestershire to talk about what's
going on in Sri Lanka after the tsunami and a very special project
he's got in the pipeline to help children orphaned by the disaster.
parts of Sri Lanka were completely devastated by the tsunami that
hit the island and Fred returned in January 2005 to see what had
happened first hand. He has spent around three months in the country
and what he saw there makes him believe that little has been done
to help the immediate suffering of the people, he says:
you go to Colombo [capital of Sri Lanka] you don't even feel that
there's something gone wrong with Sri Lanka but when you travel
to [places] like Galle then it's really appalling.
they're struggling, there's no aid getting in and most victims still
do not have proper shelter. They still live in open sheds or under
are an awful lot of things that foreign governments can do to put
pressure on the Sri Lankan government to let aid get in so that
those poor people can have a comfortable life."
seems quite difficult to imagine that people could still be lacking
the basics like food and shelter after so much money was raised
by people all over the world. Why does Fred believe it's not getting
through? He explains:
feel that what happened was when the tsunami came and quite a lot
of people collected money, they didn't have a proper organisation
to put the money in so what they did was, they gave all of the money
to the Red Cross, Unicef, Oxfam and so on, and they are unable to
operate [effectively] over there [in Sri Lanka] with the rules and
I have to say that all the containers that people sent, they're
getting rotten in Sri Lanka because all of a sudden they put duty
on them, and the people who came to distribute them, they had no
money to clear them. So they were just left.
an Italian lady and when she managed to open one container, all
of the food and everything had just gone rotten. Foreign governments
should really put the pressure on them to stop this paying of duty."
for the future
is now putting his energies into setting up an orphanage to help
the children whose parents were killed by the tsunami disaster.
intends to look after at least 20 children and provide for their
determined to make it happen and he revealed he'd go as far as selling
his home to fund the project. He explains:
got the backing of the Prime Minister [of Sri Lanka], I got the
land and I got the planning permission all passed.
stuck with the financial side of it so, if I don't get any support
from the public, I'll sell up. I got a small property, I'll sell
that and then start doing it because I've got to think about their
futures in twenty years time when they reach the real world and
I've still got the responsibility for those kids."
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