"Colombo bent on blocking aid reaching NorthEast"- Balasingham
[TamilNet, Friday, 28 January 2005, 10:43 GMT]
"The Sinhala government is bent on diverting foreign aid, meant for the
tsunami affected people, to strengthen its military apparatus and also
to stabilize its political power. Our leadership is taking all possible
efforts at international level and with the Government of Sri Lanka to
ensure an equitable distribution of funds to the affected people in all
areas. The funds for NorthEast will be immmediately used for
rehabilitation and and to improve the living standard of our people,"
said Mr. Balasingham speaking to a group of tsunami victims in
Mr. Balasingham talking to Tsunami victims in Mullaithivu
"Several countries have come forward and pledged large amounts of assistance for post-tsunami relief and reconstruction. But, we are strongly suspicious of the government's ability to disburse the aid equitably among our affected people.
"The Sinhala government appears to be acting with the intention to divert this foreign assistance, meant for the tsunami affected people, to strengthen its military mechanisms and also to stabilize its political power."
"That's why, our leader Pirapaharan told the Norwegian Foreign Minister to channel the funds through International agencies to rebuild our people's livelihood, thus reaching our affected people directly".
"Our clear position is that these foreign funds meant for the disaster victims should reach our people," Mr. Balasingham said.
"Fighting to achieve political rights is different from the struggle to rebuild the lost livelihood. That's why we are engaged in discussions with the government of Sri Lanka to find ways to structure a mechanism that will ensure equitable distribution of foreign funds."
"But working out such a mechanism is difficult under Chandrika Kumaratunge's government as she is thinking of stabilizing her political power and making political maneuvers even during this time of unprecedented calamity," he said.
"I have come here as our leader's representative to tell you the amount of help our Tamil expatriates have extended to their people here at home. The main objective of my visit is to identify the barriers the Sri Lanka government is placing in the way of aid reaching our people and inform these details to the international community."
"I spoke to our Leader for two days and was able to understand his deep feeling for the people affected by tsunami. He has employed the entire organisation and its allied institutions for the immediate post-tsunami relief and rehabilitation effort, setting aside all other political and military activities."
"Our leadership is taking all possible efforts at international level and with the government of Sri Lanka to urge them to take maximum possible steps to rehabilitate and improve the lives of our people. It is with this message that I have come to tell you," Mr. Balasingham said.
The Commander of the Sea Tigers, Colonel Soosai took Mr. Balasingham and his wife, Adale Balasingham in a Sea Tiger vessel to Mullaithivu and Vadamaradchchi east and showed them the devastation caused by the tsunami.
Speaking further, Mr. Balasingham said that the coastal areas in the NorthEast have suffered the maximum devastation, leaving over 20,000 people killed in these regions and "accordingly a fair proportion of relief assistance should also reach these areas."