The great INGO tsunami money-grab
International NGOs which pledged to build over 70,000 houses and
signed agreements for 19,600 houses, have built only a meagre 2,900
houses in 18 months after the 2004 Boxing day catastrophe.
Following this inordinate delay by the INGOs, the head of the
Reconstruction and Development Agency this week urged the INGOs to
transfer tsunami donor monies lying in their bank accounts to the
Treasury to enable the government to fund tsunami victims to build their
CARITAS pledged to build 26,000, of which only 72 houses have been
completed. World Vision Lanka pledged to build 10,000 houses, but a
meagre 198 houses have been completed.
Red Cross pledged 15,000 houses, but has completed only 169 houses.
Care International pledged 6,800 houses, but has completed only 125
"We urged the INGOs to transfer the moneies immediately to meet the
urgent housing needs of tsunami victims," said Ms Shanthi Fernando, the
Chief Operational Officer of RADA, the country's tsunami reconstruction
"Some children in the western countries went without a meal to donate
a few dollars to tsunami victims in Asia. Their generosity should reach
the recipients," said Ms Fernando.
Majority of the INGOs, barring one had adopted a lethargic attitude
over the request to transfer funds. Red Cross being the only exception,
had complied to cooperate with the government and had provided 25
million US dollars to an owner-driven housing reconstruction programme.
The delay of the INGOs in tsunami housing reconstruction has left
35,000 families still languishing in temporary shelters as at the first
week of August.
Under the new owner driven program, the government will provide Rs.
250,000 to buy a land and another Rs. 250,000 to begin the construction
of the house.
The reconstruction agency, RADA has urged the INGOs to provide an
additional Rs.250,000 to the victims to complete the construction.
Meanwhile, a top official, associated with tsunami housing
reconstruction charged the INGOs of trying to "prolong" their work here
thus to extend their luxury living in this country.
Most INGOs which have deposited tsunami funds in their respective
bank accounts are reported to be drawing the interests accrued in such
Ms.Fernando said beginning first week of August, 11,551 houses have
been built with the cooperation of local and international donors, most
of them small time organisations. That is only 38 per cent of the total