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UNP demands transparency in relief distribution


UNP demands transparency in relief distribution


Amidst growing concern over charges that the tsunami aid operation is not being properly handled, opposition United National Party (UNP) leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe met SriLanka's President Chandrika Kumarathunga to discuss officials said.

The UNP Parliamentarian Prof. G.L.Peiris told the media at a press conference Thursday that the UNP believed the government's plan will not benefit the several thousands of people in relief camps and other places.

He said that although all-party committee has decided to give special Identycards to tsunami victims in welfare centres and elsewhere for the effective distribution of relief but that had not been done yet.

Prof. G.L.Peiris said that according to information available to the UNP, the United Peoples Freedom Alliance government has decided to allocate only US$ 200 million for relief and US$ 700 million was being kept. He added that UNP felt the proportion was wrong since most of the aid was given for humanitarian assistance.

The UNP at its working committee meeting on Monday passed a resolution urging the government to ensure transparency and accountability of all stakeholders involved in the implementation of rehabilitation work on the tsunami devastated areas.

Addressing a special meeting of the UNP parliamentary group yesterday. Mr. Wickremesinghe said the death toll in Srilanka might top 50,000 and rebuilding should focus on people who have suffered and not much on the infrastructure. He said the loss of human life was the biggest catastrophe and the unprecedented amounts of aid received should be channelled mainly to rebuilding the lives and the livelihood of the victims, Mr. Peiris further said.

The opposition leader urged all parties to closely and critically monitor how effectively the aid was being utilised and to ensure that every Rupee went to the affected people..

Full text of the Press Release: [ TamilNet, January 05 ]

This is an urgent appeal to the National and International Media in the context of the post-Tsunami disaster situation in the North-East and the humanitarian delivery to the displaced. We observe inaccuracies in reports that tend to mislead the people on matters that are purely humanitarian. Any bias and inaccuracy in reporting tend to irreparably damage the collective efforts that are underway in humanitarian delivery and hence this appeal to exercise caution and responsibility that the situation demands.

It is true that media attention at the initial stage was focussed on locations closer to Colombo, where most of the media personnel are based. It is understandable. Now that focus has also turned to affected parts of the North-East, especially the areas that are administered by the LTTE by both National and International media, it is shocking to find inaccuracies in some reporting.Verification from appropriate sources, for instance, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) or the relevant party would have clarified matters relating to the truth or otherwise, rather than depending on sources that have ulterior motives.

We consider it appropriate therefore to clarify certain issues that would facilitate the media on reporting matters relating to humanitarian delivery.

We welcome any individuals or organisations, irrespective of origin, to visit the devastated areas, see for themselves the devastation, meet the displaced in the welfare centres and verify the mechanism structured at the District level to ensure all relief is registered for accountability and transparency.The District level structure, inclusive of the Government Agent, INGOÇås, NGOÇås and civil society representatives has proven to be an effective mechanism. The efficacy of this mechanism has been the subject of commendation by visiting INGOÇås, Heads of UN agencies and the like.


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