Two years after the devastating Tsunami struck the Indian Ocean region killing nearly 200,000 people from Aceh, Indonesia and Thailand in the east to Srilanka, India and Maldives to the west, it is the same old story of graft, incompetence and unfulfilled promises involving the local authorities, NGOs and the foreign governments who tried so hard to outbid each other in quoting higher and higher sums to the aid effort in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.
Two years after the Boxing Day tsunami – which killed 230,000 people around the Indian Ocean – the area is still unprepared for a repeat, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
Only a fraction of thenumber of hi-tech buoys and sea-level gauges designed to give early warning against a new catastrophe are in place, even though geologists warn that it could happen at any time. And most countries in the area are not sufficiently prepared to get an alarm out to coasts and beaches.
At the same time, many millions of pounds in foreign aid, promised by governments to the disaster-hit areas, have not been paid. And only a third of those made homeless two years ago have so far been rehoused.
What happened to all that pledges totalling nearly $4 billion made by many foreign governments ? How much of those promises were really kept?
Britain, which promised £65m to the World Bank-run Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Aceh and Nias, has so far delivered about one-fifth of it.
China offered $138m to Sri Lanka, but has provided little more than $1m, while Kuwait has reportedly handed over none of the $13m it offered the Maldives.
And even more startling is this piece. Tsunami Aid money used to Impose Sharia law in Aceh. This is comparable to what was done by our Pakistani neighbours with last year’s October earthquake relief money. They did what they know to do best- Diverted it to finance terrorism.
The NGOs who collected so much money in the name of helping the victims such as Oxfam, Red cross, World Food Program, UNICEF and many, many more have a lot of answering to do. It is strange that many of these NGOs who scream from the rooftops asking for acountability from the various governments of the world are themselves loathe to open up their books for scrutiny.