Japan gives loudhailers to mark Sri Lanka tsunami anniversary

Dec 26, 2006 (AFP) – Japan Tuesday gifted loudhailers and life jackets to Sri Lanka’s police to mark the second anniversary of the tsunami which killed 31,000 people in the island. Japan’s ambassador here, Kiyoshi Araki, gifted the equipment to police chief Victor Perera in Colombo, the Japanese embassy said.

It said Japan was also helping with the reconstruction of six tsunami-hit police stations.

The gifts were part of an 80 million dollar grant for tsunami reconstruction, the embassy said.

“When the tsunami struck Sri Lanka, people were unaware of the exact condition of the devastation, and information and awareness… were not available,” the embassy said. “Hence the magnitude of the devastation was more.

Donors pledged 3.2 billion dollars to rebuild Sri Lanka after the December 26, 2004 tsunami, but official figures show that less than half of that money was committed and much less was actually spent.

Corruption and ethnic violence were blamed for slowing down reconstruction.

Only a handful of donors and aid organisations, including the Japanese, opened themselves to an independent audit to ensure that foreign money was well spent.