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World Bank concerns over tsunami reconstruction
(LeN- 2006 Dec. 27. 11.40 am) The World Bank has called for policy adjustments in the tsunami reconstruction programme, pointing out that there were concerns over financial mismanagement, misdirection of aid and discrepancies in the reconstruction programme.

Citing unconfirmed reports of financial mismanagement, the Bank also raised its concerns of the contradictory number of houses destroyed and of aid not reaching the worst affected in sufficient quantity, for example, those living in what had initially been set aside as a no construction set back zone whose housing needs had not been met until a subsequent clarification of the set back zone. "The discrepant pace of construction across districts has also blemished an otherwise decent record of post tsunami reconstruction," the World Bank said.

The World Bank which pledged US$ 150 million for the reconstruction effort said that the country had made satisfactory progress but issues like the buffer zone and the uncertain security environment had hampered a reconstruction effort that had otherwise made satisfactory progress.

"More needs to be done to ensure that affected communities have better access to information regarding policies, entitlements, and implementation procedures. Further, mechanisms to ensure uniform policy implementation, grievance redressal and accountability need to be reinforced," the WB said.

The housing construction programme has achieved varying success, with Hambantota and Galle boasting rates above 150% and the two worst affected districts of Amapara and Batticaloa just above 50%. In Hambantota, details maintained by the Reconstruction and Development Agency said that the number of houses under construction and already handed over to beneficiaries was 192% of the total requirement. In Amapara only 10,800 houses of a total need of 27,000 and 11,787 of a requirement of 22,523 have been completed upto December, two years after the disaster.

Jamila Najmuddin
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