In my city of Genoa, I was recently asked to assume responsibility for a Non-Governmental Organisation with a long history of solidarity and concrete attention to the less fortunate, and for a more recent one whose only human shortcoming was that of a group of administrators who had ended up on trial. I am not surprised at or scandalised by human frailty; I am not surprised that temptation has its victories, especially in a world like that of volunteering, solidarity, and humanitarian aid where interest in others may also be an escape from oneself. But I do get indignant about connivance, cover-ups, the claim that the world is always and only ever grey, that virtues are necessarily sickly and weak behaviour, about those who claim that there is a higher reason that justifies their error. I believe in one's word, given and respected; I believe one can say "yes" or "no"; I believe it is possible to distinguish that which is beautiful and true from that which is a lie and ugly; I believe it is possible to express solidarity and aid honestly and effectively. I believe that the rules of civil life are a heritage built up with infinite effort and suffering by previous generations to raise steam against the discretionary powers of the powerful, in defence of the weak persons. As a judge on the Constitutional Court, I have had the good fortune to be able to explore, study and appreciate the civility of the fundamental laws of the Republic, written to point out a worthy and peaceful way so that we can be a democratic people and country. Reached the conviction that there are no "national" defects and vices, history's authorisations to con- tent ourselves with a weak and tiresome co-existence, to exhausted expectations, to a humanity satisfied only if it gives up dreaming and thinking big. For these reasons, I agreed to take over the chair of a discredited NGO, with a history to be ransomed, which however has around it men and women who are forcefully demanding that the immense dignity of their motivations be restored to them. I received this call almost as if it were compensation for this civil commitment, and I agreed, with great confidence and enthu- siasm, to be part of the Trustees Committee for the humanitarian aid operations conduct- ed in Sri Lanka by our Civil Protection Department thanks to the donations it received, almost fifty million Euros. The Report which I have the honour to present, and which offers a summary of what Civil Protection did in that country, not only justifies my initial enthusiasm but allows me to call myself fortunate and sincerely proud of having been able to take part, albeit only towards the end, in one of the finest, cleanest and most effective operations for international peace and solidarity ever conducted by Italy using exclusive- ly civil instruments. Last November the Trustees Committee approved the final report of the General Programme undertaken by the Department beginning in January 2005, with the participation of many Italian NGOs and other institutions. The summary is presented in this volume in the form of a report to the millions of Italians who, when that human tragedy occurred, participated with extraordinary generosity in the fund raising organised by many different promoters on behalf of the tsunami victims. I have never encountered so much seriousness and "punctiliousness" about transparency and the duty to report as in the Civil Protection Department, which over these years has worked in Sri Lanka, bear- ing the responsibility to do good, to act quickly, to bring to a successful conclusion a task it received because of the trust Italians demonstrated in Guido Bertolaso and in the men and women working with him. It is wonderful that in these times of political, institution- al and social uncertainty a State agency like the Civil Protection Department demonstrates by its actions its own ability to achieve, to overcome all kinds of difficulties, to work with transparency and integrity, showing itself capable of involving so much of civil society in one of the most ambitious aid programmes ever set up in our country, and being taken as an example even by other countries. I hope that the report contained in these pages, laid out in numbers, words and images, which together describe what Italy was able to accom- plish in Sri Lanka, will be appreciated by many Italians for what it is: a civil act - all the more civil because it is unfortunately rare - of homage to the sovereignty of citizens, of respect for a mandate freely given and knowingly assumed as a task, of a sense of respon- sibility for what is done in the name of our whole country.
The first time I saw Sri Lanka on the pages of my school atlas, it made me think of a pearl, hanging by invisible threads over the calm blue seas of the maps. Geography deceived me, that time; the history of that tormented island opened my eyes, suggesting less poetic and romantic images; Civil Protection has brought me back to that first image, to the close con- nection between Sri Lanka and something truly precious, of handshakes, of smiles of friendship and solidarity destined to last.

Cover ( file .pdf 380 kB)

Contents - Preface - Introduction( file .pdf 140 kB)

Part 1
From the emergency to the reconstruction

1.1 The emergency ( file .pdf 368 kB)
The emergency - Witnesses( file .pdf 116 kB)

1.2 Donations ( file .pdf 340 kB)
Donations - Witnesses( file .pdf 60 kB)

1.3 Operational instruments ( file .pdf 276 kB)
Operational instruments - Witnesses( file .pdf 108 kB)

1.4 The general programme of intervention ( file .pdf 600 kB)
The general programme of intervention - Witnesses( file .pdf 80 kB)

1.5 The Department in Colombo ( file .pdf 276 kB)
The Department in Colombo - Witnesses( file .pdf 80 kB)

1.6 Programme final balance and savings ( file .pdf 324 kB)

Part 2
Accomplishments in Sri Lanka

2.1 The South: Introduction ( file .pdf 404 kB)
The South: The map ( file .pdf 68 kB)
The South: The projects ( file .pdf 1589 kB)
The South: Photo Gallery ( file .pdf 1853 kB)

2.2 The South East: Introduction ( file .pdf 676 kB)
The South East: The map ( file .pdf 68 kB)
The South East: The projects ( file .pdf 300 kB)
The South East: Photo Gallery ( file .pdf 572 kB)

2.3 The North East: Introduction ( file .pdf 612 kB)
The North East: The map ( file .pdf 68 kB)
The North East: The projects ( file .pdf 664 kB)
The North East: Photo Gallery ( file .pdf 836 kB)

2.4 Colombo and the West Coast: Introduction( file .pdf 424 kB)
Colombo and the West Coast: The map( file .pdf 36 kB)
Colombo and the West Coast: The projects( file .pdf 252 kB)
Colombo and the West Coast: Photo Gallery( file .pdf 240 kB)

Part 3
Our partners in Sri Lanka

3.1 NGOs, Agencies and Organizations that worked with the Department ( file .pdf 280 kB)