Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka political bickering undermines tsunami rebuilding: report

COLOMBO, Jul 7, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Lack of cooperation between Sri Lanka's government and the opposition parties has hampered the post-tsunami rebuilding process, a non-governmental organization monitoring relief work said here Thursday.

Kingsley Rodrigo, chairman of People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), said the lack of national consensus between the government and the opposition toward the rebuilding effort has impeded the process, slowing it down to an undesirable low at the ground level.

PAFFREL's report released on its supervision of relief work during the six months after the tsunami says that less than 1,000 of permanent houses had been completed out of over 64,000 houses required.

Local councils are controlled by the main opposition party, and the central government's relations with them has affected the progress, Rodrigo said, adding that the political parties are using the victims for political gain he charged.

PAFFREL recommends a mechanism to be set up at village levels to avoid delays and to increase efficiency.

The government has faced accusations from the main opposition for its alleged inefficient handling of the relief efforts.

The victims say that the non-governmental organizations both local and international have been of more use than the state apparatus in handling the relief coordination, according to the report.

Two thirds of the country's coastal line was devastated in the tsunami tidal wave attack on Dec. 26 last year, which killed over 30,000 people.