Reality Cheque

Two months after the tsunami, Sri Lanka has so far got less than 10 percent of its emergency aid requirement to rebuild devastated areas, despite an outpouring of international goodwill. Two months after the tsunami, Sri Lanka has so far got less than 10 percent of its emergency aid requirement to rebuild devastated areas, despite an outpouring of international goodwill. International donors, non governmental organisations, celebrities and private individuals were falling over themselves to offer Sri Lanka all forms of financial and material support.

But the pledging has not crystalised into hard cash, with projects trapped in lengthy donor procurement procedures or lost in government bureaucracy.

Sri Lanka was left with a US$ 1.5 bn reconstruction bill, after the December 26, 2004 tsunami killed over 30,000 people, rendering thousands homeless and destroying livelihoods along the southern and eastern coastal belt.

Nearly US$ 500 mn of the total repair bill is needed this year to restore basic infrastructure and livelihoods.

“Although pledges are high, less than US$ 40 mn has been converted into real cash so far,” Treasury Secretary Dr. P B Jayasundara said Wednesday.