February 4, 2005
by Kevin Caruso
Over 400 tsunami survivors blocked a road in Sri Lanka on February 4th as a protest against the incompetence and corruption in the aid distribution program.
This protest followed another on February 2nd in which hundreds of tsunami survivors rallied outside the United Nations World Food Program office in the capital, Colombo, angrily complaining that they had not received any aid.
"About 70% of the tsunami victims have not received any aid yet because of bureaucratic bungling and incompetence,"
said Tilak Ranaviajah, the aid coordinator for relief operations in Sri Lanka. "This is not satisfactory. The president directed me to see that all families, or at least 70 percent to 75 percent of them, get relief by this weekend."
The head of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Colombo, Alasdair Gordon-Gibson, is also deeply concerned about the problems with aid distribution in the country.
"Clearly the statistics are showing that there are huge gaps in the range of distribution,"
he said. "Even today the government has acknowledged that they need to step up … all of us need to step up activities. No doubt there are communities which are still waiting to get assessment and relief agencies moving into them."
Over 30,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka by the December 26, 2004 tsunami.