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HRM Staff Recognized for Relief Work in Sri Lanka
(Friday,February 6, 2009)-- On December 26, 2004 a massive earthquake underneath the Indian Ocean triggered a series of tsunami waves that devastated the East and Northeast coasts of Sri Lanka. Over 20,000 people vanished and 1,000,000 more were impacted by the destruction the flood left behind.
Halifax Regional Council was quick to react by providing first aid to the survivors of the tsunami, as well as, long-term support to local governments.
As well, with the support of HRM Regional Council, HRM's Finance Department committed to providing expert staff to the Canada/Sri Lanka Municipal Cooperation Program (MCP), implemented through the FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) in early 2005.
In May 2007, two senior members of HRM's Finance Department, Bruce Fisher and Catherine Sanderson, were nominated by HRM and selected by FCM to participate in the FCM MCP program in Sri Lanka.
The first mission occurred in June 2007 when Catherine joined a team of two other volunteers to assist with the computerization and modernization of the finance departments at the local governments of Galle and Kalmunai.
In recognition of their great work, Bruce Fisher and Catherine Sanderson were formally recognized by the FCM. On Tuesday, February 3,2009 at the Regional Council Committee of the Whole session Moncton Councillor and FCM Board Member Steven Boyce publicly recognized Catherine and Bruce with the FCM Outstanding Contribution to International Cooperation, Volunteer Award.
Mayor Peter Kelly said, "The work done by Catherine and Bruce has gone a long way to helping restore and modernize essential services to residents, services we take for granted. Catherine and Bruce have done themselves and HRM proud".
Since Catherine's initial visit in June 2007 she has been to Sri Lanka 3 more times. Bruce has made 3 trips to Sri Lanka, most recently in November 2008.
In August 2007 a contingent of 10 Sri Lankan local government staff travelled to HRM for a learning visit and mini conference. The group was very impressed by HRM's systems, offices and facilities. Mayor Peter Kelly greeted them in his office and offered an HRM welcome.
Catherine Sanderson - Senior Manager, HRM Finance
Bruce Fisher - Manager, Fiscal & Tax Policy, HRM Finance