GOSL denies aid agencies & Tamils suffer

April 1, 2010 § 1 Comment

The Economist – Aid rows in Sri Lanka – Imperfect Peace

Nearly a year after the end of Sri Lanka’s long civil war, life remains grim for hundreds of thousands of Tamils in the north of the country, displaced in the final months of fighting. Now they face a new threat. International agencies are running out of funds to meet their needs, after the government’s rejection of a United Nations-led mechanism for channelling humanitarian assistance to the country. By March 25th only $15m had been promised for the year, just 4% of the estimated total required for humanitarian aid in the camps and return areas.

To tide over the immediate crisis, the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is poised to announce a three-month package of assistance for “urgent life-saving activities”. The money, from an OCHA emergency fund, will cover the supply of water, food, emergency shelter, sanitation and health care to those still in displacement camps. More

Aid agencies, however, say that more than a short-term cash injection is needed. Until permanent housing is built, many of the displaced will go back to their villages to live in shacks with little hope of paid employment and scant access to basic services. The agencies urge the government to secure funds for the whole year. But this process has been stymied by an ugly spat over the procedure for raising aid. More

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