Up until yesterday Union Aid Abroad APHEDA has already received donations from individual union members of just over $75,000 and from trade unions of $170,000 for the Tsunami appeal.

Moreover, we have received solid pledges from other unions of $225,000, but this has yet to come in.

As well, unions have assisted by organizing a large number of worksites or companies to assist their members to make a payroll donation. At this stage, we dont know how much these will realize in donations. If you want details on how to organize a payroll donation in a worksite, please contact either Sally Castle or Peter Jennings on (02) 9264.9343.

Update on where your donations are going.

1. North Sri Lanka

Following the signing of a Letter of Agreement, Union Aid Abroad APHEDA has now sent an initial $60,000 to the overseas aid arm of the Norwegian trade union movement, Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) who are assisting badly affected Tamil communities in northern Sri Lanka. NPA is a sister organisation to Union Aid Abroad APHEDA, we have worked together with them on overseas projects in the past, and we are both members of Solidar, the network of European trade union solidarity organisations.

NPA already have considerable infrastructure on the ground in Sri Lanka because of a large project removing land mines since 2002. All their resources such as 600 local staff, trucks, watertanks, etc are now being used to assist during the emergency, and they have undertaken responsibility for assisting two camps of internally displaced people (IDPs).

2. Southern and Eastern Coasts of Sri Lanka

We also have an agreement with a number of trade unions in southern Sri Lanka and have sent them funds to assist their work. They have organized several thousand volunteers to assist with the distribution of the food, water and medicines, as well as help with clearing away the debris so families can begin to rebuild.

3. With Trade Unions in Acheh

Also in Acheh, Union Aid Abroad APHEDA is planning to assist a number of local trade unions who are heavily involved in the distribution of emergency assistance being collected in Medan and trucked up to Banda Acheh. Local unions are also becoming involved in reconstruction work. Another union initiative is being undertaken by the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) one of the 10 Global Union Federations – who have sent a team of 3 doctors and several nurses from Jakarta to Acheh which will not only serve the medical needs of people but also act as a central coordinating point for many local unions who are assisting.

4. With local community organisations in Acheh

We now also have an agreement with a coalition of community organisations, human rights groups and environmental groups in Acheh led by WALHI. They too are assisting with food and water distribution, and working in the several of the many refugee camps for internally displaced people. Rebuilding homes and livelihoods in Acheh will take much longer than in the affected countries due to the greater degree of destruction, not just to homes and crops, but also to vital infrastructure such as roads and wharves as well as schools, hospitals and health clinics.

Long-term Rebuilding Phase

As the emergency phase of this disaster passes in the coming weeks, the emphasis will need to turn to the second phase of disaster control, maintaining health and rebuilding of homes and community infrastructure such as schools, health clinics, etc. The third phase, which is rebuilding livelihoods, will also need to be addressed, while the fourth phase of rebuilding communities and civil society structures takes even longer.

Houses will need to be rebuilt, wells, septic systems and water pipes cleaned out or re-dug, and livelihoods re-established, which in many cases for people living so close to the coast, means fishing boats and nets. In tropical coastal areas, basic housing uses local materials and local people have the skills themselves for rebuilding. However, many have lost their basic tools for construction, such as hammers, saws, screwdrivers, spanners, chisels, nails, screws, nuts and bolts. They will need assistance in accessing these items, as well as cement for floors and corrugated iron sheets for roofing. Community buildings such as schools, health clinics, meeting halls etc will also need to be rebuilt. Union Aid Abroad APHEDA has already begun planning for this on-going rebuilding and rehabilitation work with our local trade union partners there.

Donations to GUFs

Many Global Union Federations are also running appeals for their affiliated unions affected by the tsunami. If any union is considering of donating to their GUF, please consider sending that donation through Union Aid Abroad APHEDA, and we will immediately send the full amount on to your nominated GUF. For the next 3 years, Union Aid Abroad APHEDA will be able to claim a proportion of that donation (about 20 cents in the dollar) from the Federal Government for overseas projects.

How to donate

  • Ring 1800.888.674 (free call) or (02) 9264.9343 between 8:00am and 6:00pm
  • Ring 0409.047.353 any time, day or night, 7 days a week
  • the Union Aid Abroad APHEDA website on www.apheda.org.au
  • a cheque to APHEDA, Level 3, 377 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000
  • any National Australia Bank. Please specify the APHEDA Union Aid Abroad Appeal, BSB Number is 082024 Account Number is 57 877 0001

    (Any donation over $2 to APHEDA Overseas Projects is tax deductible. APHEDAs ABN is 76 425 451 089. Authority to Fundraise CFN12752)