Tsunami survivors protest corrupt aid distribution

Ishara S. Kodikara | AFP | Getty Images Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center, speaks to supporters at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo on December 16, 2018, after he was reappointed as prime minister by Sri Lanka's president, the same man who fired him from the job nearly two months ago.

Hundreds of tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka took to the streets in southern Matara district to protest corrupt aid distribution, police said. Hundreds of tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka took to the streets in southern Matara district to protest corrupt aid distribution, police said. The demonstration came as the government admitted 70 percent of victims had yet to receive any state help.

About 400 people staged a noisy demonstration in Matara to denounce officials responsible for distributing aid.

“The crowd was peaceful but they were shouting slogans against corrupt officials,” a local police officer said when contacted by telephone on Friday.

“They are angry because they have been overlooked or aid is slow in reaching them.”

Some 960,000 people are officially listed as being entitled to tsunami relief after the December 26 disaster.

The government has ordered public servants to work during holidays to speed up relief efforts after admitting that 70 percent of the survivors had not received any state aid five weeks after the catastrophe.

Tilak Ranavirajah, the head of the presidential task force