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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 12:34 GMT
Sri Lanka tsunami aid criticised
Displaced tsunami woman in Kalmunai, Sri Lanka
Nearly one million were affected by the tsunami in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's top tsunami aid distributor has criticised the country's relief work, which has reached only 30% of nearly one million affected people.

Head of the presidential taskforce, Tilak Ranavirajah, said public servants had "failed to deliver" and vowed action against any corruption.

He said the president had ordered him to get aid to 70-75% of affected families by the weekend.

December's tsunami killed more than 30,000 people in Sri Lanka.

Disappearing aid

Mr Ranavirajah blamed incompetent officials and a lack of understanding among victims on how to receive aid.

"My problem is that our public servants have failed to deliver what the government wants given to those in need," Mr Ranavirajah said.

There will be a certain amount of corruption, I am not trying to whitewash anyone
Tilak Ranavirajah

"This is not satisfactory. The president [Chandrika Kumaratunga] directed me to see that all families, or at least 70-75% of them, get relief by this weekend."

He said his figures did not include areas of the north and east under the control of Tamil Tiger rebels.

Mr Ranavirajah said the government believed it would cost 10bn rupees ($103m) to compensate bereaved families and supply food for six months.

He also vowed action against any corruption among officials.

There have been reports of aid disappearing and of relief camps serving rotten food.

"We are dealing with 10bn rupees and naturally all people will not be honest. There will be a certain amount of corruption, I am not trying to whitewash anyone," Mr Ranavirajah said.

He said he had ordered all state relief workers to work through the weekend.

Meanwhile, three leading lenders said on Wednesday Sri Lanka would need $1.5bn to recover from the tsunami.

The Asian Development Bank, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the World Bank said $500m would be needed this year.

Their report was at variance with the Sri Lankan government, which says it will need $3.5bn.


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