President Kumaratunga's top aide calls for establishment of Joint Mechanism

[TamilNet, Thursday, 28 April 2005, 11:04 GMT]
President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s Senior Economic Advisor, Mano Tittawella, who is also the head of the Presidential Task Force For Rebuilding the Nation (TAFREN) said Thursday that the establishment of a Joint Mechanism was necessary to "equitably distribute the tsunami relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction" to the affected people living in the areas that are not coming under the writ of the Government.

At a media briefing in Colombo, Mr. Tittawella said that one has to acknowledge the fact that there are areas that do not run under the writ of the government and that the idea of the government was that it cannot make disparate arrangements for those affected in those areas that are not under the writ of the government.

He said that the government bid as far as the tsunami was concerned, was to find a way, to deliver the tsunami relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction equitably to everybody who is affected.

“I think we owe to those people to find a way to see that everything that everybody else gets goes there as well. We as bureaucrats, who are tasked with the idea of ensuring that tsunami relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction goes to the tsunami affected people, are asking and seeking for ‘a mechanism’ to ensure that it happens,” he said.

“Hopefully we leave it to our political leaders to come out with a mechanism acceptable to all to deliver the people who are affected by tsunami,” he said, declining to comment anything further in this regard.

Quoting the latest figures published by the Department of Census and Statistics, he said that 41, 393 housing units have been damaged completely while 36,168 more have been partially damaged bringing the total number of damaged houses to 77,561 throughout the island.

“Re-building such a large number of houses in short time is very daunting task since the total number of houses constructed in the entire country per year adds upto about 4000 to 8000 only,” he said.

He said that four months after the tsunami, the TAFREN has provided over 15,000 families with transitional houses with 4,000 more currently under construction with the help of the NGOs and INGOs.

"We have received pledges from 194 donors for a total number of about 97,000 Permanent Housing Units. 159 MoUs have already been signed with 71 donors for 34,000 units. Construction work has already stated on 2,325 Permanent Houses," he said.

Others took part in the media presentation included head of the Presidential Task Force for Relief (TAFOR) Tilak Ranavirajah, government agents of Matara, Hambantota, Jaffna and Batticaloa.

 

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