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Tsunami aid bogged by corruption & broken promises (we stole & wasted what you sent, so send more!)
Sydney Morning Herald ^ | June 22, 2005 - 3:55PM

Posted on 06/22/2005 8:15:28 AM PDT by dead

Billions of dollars of aid was pledged after the Boxing Day tsunami, but six months later most of it has yet to reach survivors due to corruption, politics and reneging by donor countries, officials say.

In a report assessing the situation at the end April, independent Indian research group the Institute for Human Development said only 39 per cent of the $8.6 billion dollars pledged by governments, agencies and private donors had reached those whose lives were shattered by the December 26 tsunamis.

The report sponsored by ActionAid, one of Britain's largest development charities, found that of the $450 million initially pledged by the United States, only 35 per cent had been paid as of April 20.

Other nations, the report said, were also reneging on their promises, with 84 per cent of Germany's total pledged aid of some $1.5 billion yet to see the light of day. Norway has paid up only 55 per cent of its $219 million pledge.

"Such donor behaviour seriously jeopardizes the process of recovery and the international community needs to undertake stringent measures in order to overcome this failure," the report noted.

According to a tally by Agence France Presse, using official figures of governments and donor agencies, the total amount of tsunami aid pledged as of mid-June stood at around $12.8 billion.

In Indonesia, where 128,000 people perished in the tsunamis, of the $9 billion pledged only $2.3 billion has actually been handed over. Even that amount has been under the scanner due to the country's tainted bureaucracy.

Luki Jani, campaign coordinator for Indonesia Corruption Watch, an independent body which works for the promotion of democracy and good governance, said corrupt officials were siphoning off funds.

The man charged with rebuilding Indonesia's battered Aceh province, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, denied this, saying that although the government had managed to keep corruption at bay in distributing relief aid, he still faced an uphill battle.

"This is a very difficult task for us. We are not very proud of our past record when it comes to corruption," he said.

A similar story unfurled in Thailand which spurned international aid.

Apichart Nooplod, the deputy finance chief for Phuket province, was arrested late in April and charged with stealing $64,000 in government money meant to help victims.

India, where the tsunamis killed 12,405 people, too is not free of graft and red tape despite the fact that it spurned offers of bilateral aid.

The Indian government announced an aid package of 36.5 billion rupees ($1 billion) for rehabilitation and reconstruction, including providing new boats for fishermen and the repair of harbours, but much of it is still snared in a bureaucratic web, relief workers say.

External agencies such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank pledged $981 million, while India is currently in negotiations with multilateral agencies and the UN for an additional $50 million.

"There are lot of problems in the distribution of aid," said Jesu Rethinam, chief of Coastal Action Network, a campaign group. "It has been a very slow process and survivors have to get signatures of bureaucrats to encash money.

"When the final money is sanctioned it is very much less than what was promised," she said. "There is a certainly a lot of corruption within the system."

"There is competition to support visible forms of aid"

"In India the story of this disaster is quite different," said V. Vivekanandan, chief executive of South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies. "There are many distortions in aid distribution due to competition between organisations and non-governmental agencies."

He said there was an over-emphasis on helping regions and groups which were more "visibly" affected by the tsunami and where there were more deaths.

"There is competition to support visible forms of aid such as shelters. And agencies are smothering smaller villages with boats, fishing nets and aid. Smaller villages are becoming the dumping ground for aid," Vivekanandan said.

"Nobody wants to take in the worst-affected and bigger villages because the population is higher and more money needs to be pumped in," he said.

Like their Indonesian counterparts Indian survivors, many of whom stay in tin-roof temporary shelters, say they have received only half or less of the promised money from the government.

P. Jayaraman, 32, a fishermen in worst-hit southern Indian district of Nagapattinam, said of the 200,000 rupees promised by the government he had received only 80,000 rupees.

"The government doles are very low and running out. My boat has been smashed by the tsunamis beyond recognition. They (government) said money will be granted soon but it is already six months now," Jayaraman said.

Survivors housed at Dusun Gano, a hamlet on the outskirts of Indonesia's Banda Aceh where only 750 people out of 2,500 villagers survived the tsunamis, said despite promises by the government, aid was hard to come by.

The government dole was two months behind schedule, while some, like Armansyah, who like many Asians uses only one name, said he was yet to receive any aid whatsoever.

Unlike other regions, Sri Lanka's tsunami aid is caught in a bitter political battle.

The main Marxist coalition partner quit Sri Lanka's government in protest at President Chandrika Kumaratunga's plans to share tsunami aid with Tamil Tiger rebels.

However, the actual flow of aid has been slow and aid workers said bureaucracy is partly to blame and that there are several instances of administrative bottlenecks holding up reconstruction efforts.

In a country where the tsunamis left 31,000 people dead, only $2 billion dollars has been paid out of the three billion dollars pledged to help rebuild Sri Lanka's devastated coastal infrastructure.

AFP


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: tsunami; turass

1 posted on 06/22/2005 8:15:28 AM PDT by dead
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To: dead

Once again, I am proud not to have sent a dime (excluding of course what the government stole from me and sent on my behalf).


2 posted on 06/22/2005 8:16:32 AM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: dead
Billions of dollars of aid was pledged after the Boxing Day tsunami, but six months later most of it has yet to reach survivors due to corruption, politics and reneging by donor countries, officials say.

People may not have seen the tsunami coming...but they sure should've seen this.

3 posted on 06/22/2005 8:16:54 AM PDT by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: dead

Well, I figure if they don't distribute the money promised to those who need it most, then why should be continue to send more over there?


4 posted on 06/22/2005 8:18:16 AM PDT by Marysecretary (Thank you, Lord, for FOUR MORE YEARS!!!)
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To: dead

Well, I figure if they don't distribute the money promised to those who need it most, then why should be continue to send more over there?


5 posted on 06/22/2005 8:18:20 AM PDT by Marysecretary (Thank you, Lord, for FOUR MORE YEARS!!!)
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To: Rodney King

I sent mine to folks like Franklin Graham and 700 Club. They're already established there and I feel the money has a better chance of getting to where it's needed. I never give money to Red Cross or to WHO, etc.


6 posted on 06/22/2005 8:19:51 AM PDT by Marysecretary (Thank you, Lord, for FOUR MORE YEARS!!!)
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To: dead
When conditions are bad enough (end of the world type stuff) "corruption" is the NORMAL and probably the most efficient way to get aid into the community.

No doubt someone might get rich on it, and quite possibly some undeserving people might get more than others, but you are working against a statistical average sort of thing where ANY help at all will work to the advantage of everyone.

See the parable of the Good Samaritan where we all pretty much agree that the fellow who asked no questions and didn't let rules and protocol bother him is concerned to the one adhering to a higher level of morality.

7 posted on 06/22/2005 8:20:20 AM PDT by muawiyah (q)
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To: dead
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
8 posted on 06/22/2005 8:21:11 AM PDT by eyespysomething ( A penny saved is a government oversight)
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To: dead
When conditions are bad enough (end of the world type stuff) "corruption" is the NORMAL and probably the most efficient way to get aid into the community.

No doubt someone might get rich on it, and quite possibly some undeserving people might get more than others, but you are working against a statistical average sort of thing where ANY help at all will work to the advantage of everyone.

See the parable of the Good Samaritan where we all pretty much agree that the fellow who asked no questions and didn't let rules and protocol bother him is considered to the one adhering to a higher level of morality.

9 posted on 06/22/2005 8:21:35 AM PDT by muawiyah (q)
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To: Rodney King

That makes two of us!


10 posted on 06/22/2005 8:22:59 AM PDT by proudofthesouth (Boycotting movies since 1988)
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To: dead

Heck fire, our lawmakers are the same way. "We need more of your money!!! Raise taxes!!"


11 posted on 06/22/2005 8:30:16 AM PDT by Millee (So you're a feminist......isn't that cute??)
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To: Rodney King

Ditto. it just ends up either being spent on lavish meals and accomodations for corrupt UN NGO's, or in the hands of Mooslim terrorists so they can kill more Christians.


12 posted on 06/22/2005 8:52:05 AM PDT by Nathan Zachary
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To: muawiyah

Just give money to the Joyce Meyer's World Outreach Program.
or Jim Robison life outreach. Screw the Un Ngo's.


13 posted on 06/22/2005 8:58:25 AM PDT by Nathan Zachary
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To: Rodney King
Once again, I am proud not to have sent a dime (excluding of course what the government stole from me and sent on my behalf).

Me too.

14 posted on 06/22/2005 9:12:58 AM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Nathan Zachary
Just give money to the Joyce Meyer's World Outreach Program.

So her and her kids can live in mansions?

15 posted on 06/22/2005 9:28:26 AM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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