Norwegian funds for Indonesian tsunami victims unused

Oslo (dpa) - More than half of the 30 million dollars that Norway allocated to victims of the devastating tsunami disaster that hit Indonesia last December remains unused, reports said Monday.

Raymond Johansen, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, was critical of the red tape that prevented the funds being but to use.

"People in Indonesia have not gained access to the aid that people in Norway believe they have. Some of the clean-up has begun, but the main reconstruction has not,'' Johansen told the Dagbladet newspaper.

Both voluntary groups and the Norwegian government contributed generously to the victims of the December 26 disaster, raising some 1.2 billion kroner (82 million dollars). The sum placed the Scandinavian country as one of the highest donors per capita.

Of the 200 million kroner (30 million dollars) allocated for Indonesia, some 23 million kroner (3.4 million dollars) was allocated to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 38 million kroner (5.8 million dollars) to U.N. agencies while 120 million kroner (18 million dollars) was allocated to multilateral funds administered by the World Bank.

Johansen warned that if the funds were not used it could affect people's will to donate funds in future.

An aide to Minister of Development Cooperation Hilde Frafjord Johnson defended the policy of how the funds were allocated.

"We are also impatient to see the money put to use, which is the reason for the fuss,'' David Hansen said. "But putting the money to good use is better than using it quickly.'' dpa lsm ch


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