An unexpected fire broke out at the YMCA International Centre in Sri Lanka; buildings are partially damaged!

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 02 August 2022 11:34)

A fire broke out in the early morning on the 23rd of July at the YMCA International Center in Kurana, Katunayake. Many from the global YMCA community and APAY reached out to us with solidarity and support. We are eternally grateful to all in the greater YMCA family for their camaraderie and concern during this time.

While the fire completely consumed a small auto-repair shop adjoining the YIC, the same fire, by the providence of God Almighty, left the YIC mostly untouched. By the mercy of our Divine Father, there were no casualties nor injuries in the incident in either of the buildings. The flames consumed the façade of the building, which at this point mainly was cladding. The fire destroyed one bedroom and the building’s elevator, while some damage was inflicted on five more bedrooms. At present, the cause of the fire remains unknown, but Police investigations are ongoing.

The YIC is in a widely renowned location for the global YMCA community. Hence since 2014, the entire premises have been on lease to Kelaniya Tourist Hotel Pvt Ltd (Hotel Clarion). While we will proactively oversee the reconstruction effort, no fiscal obligation will devolve to us, which is particularly opportune given the turbulent economic situation in the country. Of course, we have been in litigation with Hotel Clarion for a few years due to persistent defaults in paying rentals. The case was settled in March this year by new terms of engagement; however, the hotel company was once more in default of its obligation when the fire broke out.

The National Council of the YMCAs of Sri Lanka expresses its profound and lasting gratitude to the global fraternity of YMCA brothers and sisters who have solidarity with us, including a few who were physically present to offer their support during this time. The Almighty's guidance has allowed us to create a better and brighter National YMCA movement in a spirit of unity.

A Partners Support Group was formed in solidarity with Sri Lanka YMCA during the World Council in Aarhus, Denmark

During the World Council in Aarhus, Denmark, in response to the urgent appeal by Sri Lanka YMCA, APAY supported and coordinated to form a Partners Support Group in solidarity with Sri Lanka YMCA during the World Council in Aarhus, Denmark. Caused by the corruption, nepotism, incompetence, etc., of the current regime, the whole population in the country are undergoing unprecedented misery and suffering.

As part of the civil society in Sri Lanka, the NCY-Sri Lanka is struggling for justice and democracy based on people’s genuine participation. YMCA Sri Lanka strongly pleaded to the World YMCA family to come forward in rendering humanitarian support for the YMCAs and people's struggling for their basic needs - three meals a day, their fundamental human rights and a decent life. In response, there was a special luncheon meeting on 5th July to form a Partners Support Group (PSG) to plan and implement short & long-term support for Sri Lanka YMCA. The PSG initiative to provide urgently needed services to the people, particularly the poorest and vulnerable. In the meeting, NGS Brownson presented the current crisis in Sri Lanka, followed by Q&A and a discussion on the future collaboration among the PSG members. As a result, a zoom meeting, inviting PSG members not only from our region but also from YMCA Europe, YCI, YUSA and Canada, will take place on 12th August to collectively make a concrete plan to support Sri Lanka YMCA. APAY is deeply thankful for the YMCAs who joined the PSG with deep concern and solidarity with Sri Lanka YMCA.

By Theonis Charles Brownson
General Secretary, NCY of Sri Lanka
Nam Boo Won, General Secretary, APAY