Passport Travels update on our Sri Lanka assistance project.

Please keep up to date with what we are doing and if you are able to help please email at the contact below.


Saturday evening 05 February a medical team of 14 persons departed Melbourne airport bound for follow up work in Sri Lanka. The team comprised Orthopaedic surgeons, an Anaesthetist, surgical assistants, a nurse, two Physiatrists, GP's and a logistics assistant. $500,000 worth of general medical equipment had been shipped a few weeks prior. In addition, $250,000 worth of technical orthopaedic, equipment required for immediate work, was carried as checked extra baggage. Regretfully, although the nation of Sri Lanka has an emergency situation it is still difficult to get emergency supplies out quickly from freight customs. Therefore, equipment required to be used on DAY 1 has to be with the team as personal baggage. Our thanks again to Singapore Airlines who arranged a waiver of weight restrictions for the checked baggage.

This team is due back 13 February, with the next group due to go in the middle of March.

To date this team is entirely self funded and self organised both here in Australia and on the ground in Sri Lanka. There are many 'working hands' amongst this team. Unseen family and friends in Sri Lanka who arrange internal logistics. Hospitals and suppliers in Australia who donate supplies and equipment. All participants have taken time out from their own very busy practices and surgery commitments to make this week of action happen.


Full trolley's of surgical equipment Dr David Young  Dr Gary Zimmerman (orthopaedic surgeons) and junior check in assistant Miss 'P' for perky Mia Zimmerman Dr Quintus DeZylva group organiser
Dr Suren Jayaweera (surgical assistant), his brother who did the taxi run and Jason Thomas - logistics man and organiser of initial pre shipment of medical supplies. Dr Young and Dr Skantha Vallipuram (anaesthetist). Sensible gifts for cricket mad Sri Lanka! Dr Greg Hoy (orthopaedic surgeon) and Evie from Singapore Airlines.


The team at departure 05/02/2005


July 2005

Another team has just returned from a weeks work. Hopefully we will have one of the members post an update. this group carried some sports equipmet donated by schools in country Victoria. Our web site has also linked up a group of Doctors from the U.S. who have also made a journey themselves to assist in hospitals as well as organising medical supplies.

Update 05/01/2005

Our current Sri Lanka group departed on 01/01 with extra baggage to support the first team of doctors.

A second team of three doctors departs today 05/01 carrying 60kg each of supplies. SQ have assisted with this team - our thanks. We, as part of the support TEAM, have assisted with these logistics and arranged their personal travel equipment - water filtration and purification, waders etc. Lions Club Sri Lanka have organised a van and driver for when they arrive.
I am sure all of you would by now have donated, or assisted in some way. If anyone is looking for additional ways to assist then an introduction to the Melbourne based Lions Club (assisting the Sri Lankan community with this project) can be made. 
The immediate problems are immense as are the longer term problems. I would like to take the opportunity to seed some thoughts for longer term actions. I am personally involved with 'Engineers Without Borders' and am currently working on a long term project in East Africa.
This group is NOT an emergency response organisation, but involved with longer term sustainable projects in impoverished areas. With what has happened in the Indian Ocean region the group is now examining what it can do within the regions affected. These projects require funding. The practical 'engineering' side comes from existing specialists who donate their time to perform required on site work. The group would always want to hear from suitably qualified persons who could work in the field. In addition, these projects have to be funded - not all services/supplies can be obtained on an FOC basis.
If any visitors feel they would like to be involved in such a project (related to the affected areas) then I can supply introductions to the people within the organisation involved with coordinating funding for projects.
Update 30/12/04

In addition to financial contributions to major aid programmes, we have in the past worked with direct action solutions. We are actively involved in one such project...

A small group of Doctors left Melbourne 0600 30/12 bound for Sri Lanka taking their medical, language and cultural skills with them - Sri Lankan born doctors, as well as non Sri Lankan origin. They gathered what supplies they had within their practices. Upon return a second group will replace them. Their story was mentioned in the Age (Melbourne Newspaper) today. This direct action cuts through the red tape and pilfering so prevalent in this part of the world.
We are connected with Sri Lanka through some tours we operate to this country. Our partners have survived in body, but lost tourism assets including their dive centres. We have two groups departing - 01 and 10 Jan and both are going ahead (not going to affected areas).
I have contacted the Melbourne doctors and offered money to purchase medical supplies for them to use in direct action. It seems some other like minded persons have done so also. We will be contacting our group members and asking if they will carry supplies with them as additional baggage to be collected in Colombo. Qantas and Airlanka have been contacted and I received an authority for up to 30kg excess baggage for each person.
Medical supplies can be expensive, but compact so his method of personal delivery should mean a quick and secure method of re-supply. We have yet to contact all members of the group, but do not envisage reluctance to take extra supplies.
Should any visitors to this page feel this form of positive and direct action is worthwhile and would like to contribute directly to the doctors concerned then I would be happy to introduce you. Your funds could be used to secure supplies needed and our group members could ensure the supplies get to Colombo where they would be handed to the doctors themselves.
Email me
Brent McCunn