UN says Sri Lanka violence hitting tsunami aid work

Chandi Dharmaratne

Sept 29, 2006 (AFP) – The United Nations said Friday ongoing fighting between government forces in Sri Lanka and Tamil Tiger rebels had badly hit tsunami reconstruction efforts. The UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, Eric Schwartz, also said he was “deeply disturbed” to learn that more than 200 civilians had been killed and thousands displaced in the past two months alone.

The Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said Thursday that both the Colombo government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had violated their truce by launching military action against each other.

“In parts of the north and east, the tsunami recovery process has ground to a halt, and significant investments in reconstruction, so generously supported by donors around the world, are now imperiled,” Schwartz said in a statement.

An estimated 31,000 people were killed and Sri Lanka’s coastal infrastructure was devastated following the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

International donors had pledged more than 3.2 billion dollars for reconstruction.

Much of the promised aid had not been received and even the money that was given had not