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Their Misery Continues

30/01/2006 | Down To Earth

Their Misery Continues A year after Sri Lanka's worst natural disaster, many victims of the tsunami languish in makeshift shelters while an inefficient government bureaucracy and the country's poor utilisation of foreign aid continues to compound the crisis. Experts reckon that at the current rate, it will take at least four years for all the tsunami survivors in the country to be rehabilitated.

More than 35,000 Sri Lankans lost their lives in the December 26, 2005 tsunami, while 21,441 others were injured. According to government figures, close to a million people were displaced and more than two-thirds of the country's coastline and 13 districts were affected. Some 150,000 people lost their source of livelihood.

"Social disparities will be a major challenge in the coming years,' notes Yu Hwa Li, national director of World Vision Lanka, one of the biggest ngos involved in post-tsunami work. "Less than 20 per cent of those affected by the calamity have been given new houses,' he explains, and then adds, "some survivors have received more expensive houses than the others.' Another ngo representative, who declined to be named, complained that only 5 per cent of the tsunami-affected people in the ethnic conflict-affected northern parts of the country have been given houses.

The per unit construction cost of houses for tsunami survivors range between Sri Lankan Rs 20,000 (us $2,000) and Sri Lankan Rs 1million

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