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24 February 2005 PR 05/14

Academics return from tsunami-hit Sri Lanka

Two Loughborough University academics have returned to campus after assisting in the relief effort in the Tsunami-hit country of Sri Lanka.

Bob Reed, a senior programme manager from the University’s Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC), was working for the World Health Organisation (WHO) whilst in the country, and Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, a senior lecturer in the Department of Civil and Building Engineering, was working for the Tamil Relief Organisation (TRO).

Bob, who is a leading emergency water supply and sanitation expert, was sent to Sri Lanka to offer advice and support to aid agencies operating in the area, trying to increase hygiene standards for the thousands of people left homeless by the killer waves and reduce the amount of sanitation related diseases.

He said: “The tsunami had a profound affect on the World’s conscience and lead to an outpouring of sympathy and support. The challenge now is to ensure that all that support is used effectively and efficiently to overcome the needs of those affected and support their long term development”

Kalanithy’s main role was to liase between the TRO and aid agencies to ensure that the water supply and sanitation services they installed were appropriate to the needs of the refugees.

Kalanithy’s visit to Sri Lanka was particularly poignant as he was born in Jaffna, an area of the country affected by the disaster.

He said: “Being born in Sri Lanka it was a great privilege for me to be able to give something back to my homeland by supporting the relief efforts initiated by the international organizations. I was pleased to be able to play a small part in the rebuilding of the country and in helping the survivors to come to terms with this tragedy.”


(Photographs courtesy of Bob Reed)

  The devastation caused by the tsunami in Sri Lanka.
  Locals start to rebuild toilets, with help from the aid agencies.
  Clean drinking water is vital for the people of Sri Lanka.


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Notes to editors

  1. WEDC is one of the world's leading institutions concerned with education, training, research and consultancy relating to the planning, provision, and management of infrastructure in developing countries. Its staff have worked on water supply, sanitation and waste management in many countries, including those affected by other natural disasters and war.

  2. Bob and Kalnithy are available for interviews/photographs. To arrange this please contact the Public Relations Office.

  3. Photographs taken in Sri Lanka are available upon request from the Public Relations Office.

  4. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place Loughborough in the top flight of UK universities, and industry highlights Loughborough in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 45% of the University’s income is for research. The University has been awarded four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; and for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development.

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