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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 19:44 GMT
'Scant help' for tsunami victims
By Susannah Price
BBC News, New York

Two girls outside their tent home in Banda Aceh
Many people still live in tents more than a year after the tsunami
Aid agencies have accused governments in five countries hit by the Asian tsunami of failing to provide housing, relief or work to all the victims.

The UN-backed report said coastal dwellers were being discouraged or even stopped from returning to their land.

The authors visited 50,000 people in towns and villages in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Maldives and Thailand.

The report, by Action Aid and two other charities, was released at the UN headquarters in New York.

The horrifying images from the tsunami provoked a massive international response with money pouring in from governments and individuals alike.

The report highlights how, despite the unprecedented relief effort, the authorities in five of the affected countries failed to help some of their most vulnerable communities.

'Forcibly moved'

The authors said that governments stood back or were complicit as coastal communities were pushed out in favour of commercial interests.

According to the report, villagers in India's Andhra Pradesh were forcibly moved from their homes to make way for tourist resorts and in Sri Lankan coastal families say they still do not know if they will be able to rebuild on their old homes.

The aid agencies also found large numbers of people living in overcrowded temporary shelters or tents. Women in Banda Aceh in Indonesia and the Maldives told the authors the poor living conditions left them open to sexual harassment and intimidation.

The report said the disaster magnified existing discrimination. In India the village authorities ignored pleas from the lowest caste, the dalits, for relief and the community known as the sea gypsies in Thailand faced similar treatment.

Action Aid chief executive, Ramesh Singh, said that a major effort was now needed to correct the wrongs seen during last year's response to the tsunami.


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