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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Friday, April 21, 2006

Government officials obstruct Taiwanese assistance to the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka

Asian Tribunal: 06/04/2006" Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Hambantota, Sri Lanka

A number of philanthropists from Taiwan who have shown their interest to assist local tsunami victims, providing shelters and improve their lifestyles are worried due to the inactive government officials in the Hambantota area, who have also disobeyed their instructions given by the President of Sri Lanka.

Rev.Dr. Bodagama Chandima thero, Chief Sanganayaka of Taiwan , who led the entire relief assistance project is also worried at the officials activities and has now flown back to Taiwan.

Rev. Chandima who constructed 300 houses to the tsunami victims in Ambalantota area received a number of threats from government officials.

"They asked the Buddhist monk to work under their plans," said Most Rev. Pallegama Sri Jinaratna thero, chief incumbent of Haathagala Rajamaha Viharaya, Ambalanthota.

Rev.Chandima thero, has constructed houses, basic infrastructure, play ground, public library, Children’s park and Day care centre at the Taiwan Samadhigama , off 1.5.kilomtres from Nonagama.

A committee comprised of District Secretary, Hambantota and few government and non-government officials conducted interviews to select suitable families to allocate these houses. After their selections, the government officials refused to allocate pipe borne water and electricity to these house owners, he said.

"If there are any eligible house recipients, the government officials can mediate with us to remove them. But they never follow acceptable procedures, but only follow the law of jungle," he said.

"President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksha has ordered the officials to assist Rev. Chandima’s effort. But they have boldly flouted the President's ruling," Rev.Jinaratna said.

According to Rev.Jinaratna , there were plans to construct 1000 houses at Taiwan-Samadhigama in Nonagama .After the officials' red tapes Rev. Chandima has returned to Taiwan.

"We made several appeals to the responsible government officials, area politicians and the President of Sri Lanka. The President has ordered the District Secretary of Hambantota to solve this matter within three weeks."

However, District Secretary of Hambantota couldn't solve our problem after a six-month period, the Rev. said.

The philanthropists have spent over US$ 2.5 million to construct 300 houses and provide infrastructure .The donors also allocated their funds to supply household utensils and furnitures, he said.

At present house recipients at the Taiwan Samadigama face severe water problem and lack of electricity. They said that they have to waste their night time to collect water.

"Some house owners have pipe borne water facility. But we have to wait long hours to collect water from these taps," said S.Seetin, a resident of Samadhigama.

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