70% of Sri Lanka's tsunami victims still without relief assistance
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 February 2005, 14:41 GMT]
Commissioner General of Essential Services of Sri Lanka, Tilak Ranavirajah, Wednesday admitted that at least 70% of the country's tsunami survivors living in the government-controlled areas are yet to receive the relief assistance of the government, despite the outpouring of the international aid. He said that only 30 percent of the 9,60,000 tsunami victims living in the government held areas have received the government assistance so far and said it was due to the bureaucratic incompetence as well as the ignorance of tsunami survivors.
"As of Monday, only 30 percent of the affected people had received aid. This is not at all satisfactory. The President has directed me to ensure that at least 70 to 75 percent of them get the government relief by February 7," Mr. Ranavirajah, who is also the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order, said at press conference at the Ministry of Defence Auditorium today.
The government acceptance of huge lapse in the relief supply came amidst increasing reports of the relief supply being hijacked by interested political parties and officials.
Claiming that the government would require at least USD 10.3 billion to compensate the surviving families and provide food rations for the next six months, he said that he could not rule out corruption.
He, however, promised action against anyone found guilty of being corrupt in this regard.
"We are dealing with 10 billion rupees and naturally all people will not be honest. There will be a certain amount of corruption and I am not trying to whitewash anyone," he said.