Bureaucracy delays aid at Colombo port – paper

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 May 2005, 17:26 GMT]
Five months after the Indian ocean tsunami disaster, many hundreds of containers of aid are stranded at ports in Sri Lanka because of bureaucratic bungling and missing paperwork, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

As many as 500 containers, a quarter of all aid shipped to Sri Lanka after the Boxing Day disaster, are on the dockside in Colombo, the respected British daily broadsheet reported.

Sri Lankan officials say most of the containers are stranded in Colombo because of missing paperwork and bureaucracy, the paper added.

With a lot of the aid, including containers sent by international companies, stranded on docks, co-ordination of the relief work is again being questionedm the paper said.

Aid groups say unclear rules on duties, lack of warehousing and a requirement that every container be unloaded and inspected by navy officers have led to the dockside pile-up, the paper said.

The Financial Times quoted Gert Venghaus, tsunami operations co-ordinator for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as saying such problems underscored his federation's repeated plea for private donors to send cash rather than unsolicited goods.

In Indonesia also, 1,500 containers of aid are stacked at the Sumatran port of Medan, according to customs records, with 599 of the units unclaimed or needing import permits.

 

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