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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 72

Clinton paints false picture of "progress" for Sri

[b]Clinton paints false picture of "progress" for Sri Lanka's tsunami victims[/b]

By Panini Wijesiriwardena – World Socialist Web Site

During a visit to Sri Lanka yesterday, former US President Bill Clinton praised the government for making "real progress" in assisting the victims of the December 26 tsunami. "Ninety percent of children are back in school, epidemics have been prevented and transitional shelter has been provided to almost all internally displaced people," he declared.

Clinton’s rosy picture is a long way from the grim reality facing thousands of survivors, many of whom lost everything in the disaster—homes, possessions, livelihoods and family members. Nearly a year after the tragedy, many victims still live in intolerable conditions because the government and international donors have failed to provide assistance to meet their basic needs.

After Indonesia, Sri Lanka was the country worst affected by the tsunami. The death toll was 40,000 people and nearly one million people were displaced. More than 50,000 families are still living in often-poor quality, temporary accommodation and a similar number are with relatives or friends.

According to Task Force for Rehabilitation of the Nation (TAFREN) figures released for October, 80,000 houses were completely destroyed by the huge waves and another 40,000 were partly destroyed. An estimated 400,000 people needed to be resettled. More than 275,000 people lost their means of support—many of them fishermen. Nine fishing harbours, 15,300 fishing boats and one million fishing nets were destroyed.

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