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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 114

USAID post-tsunami projects in Sri Lanka target to unite....

[b]USAID post-tsunami projects in Sri Lanka target to unite diverse communities to work together[/b]

Daya Gamage – US Correspondent to Asian Tribune

[b]Washington, D.C., 23 September, ([/b] Being aware of the tragic civil war that has gripped the island for decades, wherever possible, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) uses projects in Sri Lanka to bring together people from diverse communities to work together for the common good, said James Kunder, Assistant Administrator of USAID for Asia and the Near East in a testimony before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 15.

Under the 1966 Foreign Assistance Act ratified by the U.S. Congress, the Foreign Relations Committee exercises the authority to decide on economic assistance to foreign countries. The U.S. foreign policy is closely tied with overseas economic assistance, and government agencies such as USAID and the State Department periodically testify before this committee to justify their economic aid commitments and seek the approval of the congress for enhanced economic assistance to other nations.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee occasionally summons non governmental groups such as human rights organizations to allow them to submit their interpretations of how U.S. foreign economic assistance are used by recipient governments. Some non-governmental organizations in recent times have made representations to this most powerful committee to single out certain recipient governments, such as Sri Lanka, about the alleged misuse of U.S. economic assistance that has allegedly favored a section of the population. These testimonies, given by both governmental and non-governmental agencies, greatly influence the mindset of the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee.

The USAID assistant administrator further told the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that his agency was proud of the collaborative work among (USAID) Mission Teams and with the (US) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to provide not only immediate relief, but early on to incorporate longer term options for rehabilitation and reconstruction in Sri Lanka. He believed Sri Lanka could serve as a model for future collaboration and programming.

He outlined the post-tsunami assistance give to Sri Lanka before the Senate committee: “In Sri Lanka, where over 30,000 people lost their lives and over half a million were rendered homeless, the USAID team moved quickly to reestablish a means of livelihood for the victims. Over 300,000 people were put to work on construction activities, and we are pleased to report that over 1500 businesses have been started or restarted.

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