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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2585

Top Sri Lankan official hits out at 'extravagant lifestyles' enjoyed by NGOs

Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 24 September, (Asiantribune.com): Local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs and INGOs) have come under flak by Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) Chief Operating Officer Shanti Fernando who has pointed out that the 'extravagant lifestyles' enjoyed by these organizations especially in the background of a huge human tragedy have angered tsunami victims, the majority of whom continue to live in temporary camps sans even basic facilities.

"On the matter of housing, the communities are rightfully impatient and often angry. And more so, when they see the NGOs and INGOs who have raised abundant funds from the developed countries for the tsunami-affected, living it high, entertaining extravagantly,
travelling in luxury vehicles, paying themselves astronomical salaries and lavish allowances, -- specially in the background of a huge human tragedy, and in the view of some observers, spending more than 40% of the tsunami funds on themselves, their travel and their administration. I am only reflecting on the perception, right or wrong, of the people living in the tsunami-affected communities themselves," Ms. Fernando said. She made these comments recently in Galle at the launch of the livelihood development plan for the Galle district.

The chief operating officer also noted the practice of several NGOs and INGOs of signing memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with pledges to construct large numbers of houses and to our disappointment failing to live up to their grand promises have infuriated the minds of these victims further.

"The housing reconstruction and relocation had faced several problems that in turn have impeded progress. Lack of land in certain districts; problems arising from the inter-sectoral coordination necessary for developing new housing communities, and failure to finalize stable beneficiary lists on time, difficulties of matching existing livelihoods with land availability for relocated housing, and finally the practice of several NGOs and INGOs of signing MoUs with pledges to construct large numbers of houses and to our disappointment failing to live up to their grand promises, have been in my view the reasons for the gaping gap between target and achievement in the matter of housing reconstruction," she said.

Ms. Fernando, however, pledged that all tsunami-affected families entitled to housing replacement will be provided with houses, in time for the second anniversary of the tsunami, which falls in December 26th this year.

- Asian Tribune -

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