Money Wave

RATHGAMA, December 23, 2009 (AFP) – Billions of dollars were pledged after the 2004 Asian tsunami to help people like Pradeepa Niroshani who waited in vain for money to rebuild her destroyed home. Five years after the disaster, the government in Sri Lanka is under pressure from a leading anti-corruption group to account for nearly half of the 2.2 billion dollars pledged to the country by official foreign donors.

Niroshani, 26, a mother of two and wife of a fisherman, escaped from her house shortly before it was destroyed on December 26, 2004, wearing just night clothes and some jewellery, which she has since sold.

“We never got a house with the tsunami aid money. Only broken promises,” Niroshani told AFP in the palm-fringed village of Rathgama, 110 kilometres (70 miles) south of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

Selling her jewellery, a last resort that has left her without any financial security, enabled her to buy a new brick residence for 350,000 rupees (3,100 dollars) from another tsunami survivor who had received an aid-built home.

Such tales are common in Sri Lanka, where allegations of unfulfilled cash pledges, missing money and corrupt officials have erupted ever sin