22 August, 2019

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Eleven Years After Tsunami; Muslims Still Live In Makeshift Huts

By Latheef Farook

Latheef Farook

Latheef Farook

Eleven years after Tsunami waves and billions of aid and grants; Some Muslims still live in makeshift huts

The anniversary of the ferocious and frenzied tsunami waves, observed on December 26, provides an opportunity for some soul searching -of our conscience, moral principles and religious values.

Tsunami waves which snatched away thousands of lives in the most devastating natural disaster ever to strike the island, dismembered thousands of families, wiped out communities, razed down buildings, swallowed villages, cities and left behind an unprecedented trail of destruction.

These waves disappeared as fast as they appeared leaving the shocked survivors speechless and dumbfounded.

During the first few post-tsunami days and weeks, there was an unparalleled outpouring of sympathy for the victims. Spontaneous goodwill poured forth overwhelmingly when people from all communities and from all walks of life rushed to help the victims.

[ File Photo- At Nookkuraansolai welfare camp in Kandalkuda, Puttlam district, Picture courtesy Dushiynthini Kanagasabapathipillai]

[ File Photo- At Nookkuraansolai welfare camp in Kandalkuda, Puttlam district, Picture courtesy Dushiynthini Kanagasabapathipillai]

It was highly commendable that they rose above race, religion, ethnicity and other considerations. They demonstrated that compassion and human kindness still remain alive among the average people. Though the tsunami brought together the divided communities, yet it was a short-lived dream as conflict broke out within a year.

Eleven years later today considerable number of Muslim victims still languish in worn out huts. Besides five hundred houses built for Muslim tsunami victims by the Saudi government still remain unoccupied and virtually collapsing amidst growing jungle due to a court case.

This is despite around three and half billion dollars given in the form of grants and donations from abroad and from local sources to help alleviate the sufferings of tsunami victims.

However this money was plundered by politicians and bureaucrats.

Sri Lanka’s then deputy executive director of the anti-graft organisation Rukshana Nanayakkara said: “it was almost impossible to find out what happened to the cash. According to an initial government audit only 13 percent of the aid was spent during the first year of reconstruction, but since then there has been no formal examination of accounts. There has been no proper accounts maintained on the aid money and we believe that only a fraction of the aid trickled down to the real victims”.

“The then government ignored an interim report by the Auditor General’s Department, which details a series of irregularities. The report has dealt with questionable transactions between December 26, 2004 and June 30, 2005. It is critical of lapses on the part of the General Treasury, Central Bank and the Customs. This report, now gathering dust, called for an in-depth police investigation. Rajapaksa government ignored that call, and allowed a group of corrupt officials and their political masters to go scot free.”

According to a report by then Auditor-General, S.C. Mayadunne, “government officials misspent or misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tsunami aid after failing to follow instructions. Officials gave millions of rupees in tsunami assistance to thousands of families who were not directly affected while others displaced by the tsunami did not even get the rations they were entitled to”.

“Some who were not even affected by the tsunami got houses. Some got two or three boats while others did not get any. They put too much emphasis on urgency and did not adhere to accounting standards. The tsunami in many ways was a blessing in disguise to the government. The inflow of aid saw local currency appreciate by over five percent while the state enjoyed both debt forgiveness and a moratorium on repayments.

“Later inquiries revealed that the defeated Rajapaksa government has failed to initiate action against them despite clear evidence of wasteful expenditure on a large scale. Politicians have connived with officials to help their supporters play out funds and in some cases, further the interests of their associates.

According to a report, money was feverishly transferred not only to government establishments, but also to accounts of individuals, companies and charity organizations; so much so that a report by The Tsunami Evaluation coalition (TEC), under former US President Bill Clinton, suggested that Sri Lanka was over-aided and the island should be the best and the most efficiently reconstructed.

A survey conducted by the Muslim Reconstruction and Resettlement Organization (MRRO) had complained to the Disaster Relief Monitoring Unit (DRMU) of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka about the delay and the violation of their rights.

No one knows for sure how many perished. According to some reports a total of 35,322 people belonging to 14 districts were killed, while 516,150 people were displaced, 65,275 houses completely damaged and 38,561 houses partially damaged. The total estimated damage stood at US$ 1.5 billion.

Muslims in the south, south east and the east coast were the worst affected and, according to some estimates, the Muslim community lost one percent of their total population in the island.

Then President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who was in London, rushed home, visited some of these affected areas in the east and assured the helpless and voiceless victims that their houses would be rebuilt within six months. But these promises disappeared in the same way tsunami waves disappeared.

A month-and-a-half after the tsunami, I visited the affected areas only to realise the full scale of the destruction and words couldn’t describe the sufferings of survivors most of whom were still in a state of shock.

Even after six weeks, the East remained a virtually neglected area. Attributing this to deliberate discrimination even during times of disaster, many pointed out that no reason could justify neglecting a region burdened with so much human suffering and misery. The traumatized and frustrated survivors in the east were seething with anger with the government, state agencies, politicians and even foreign donors for their indifference towards their unprecedented sufferings. They complained that nothing was done to alleviate their sufferings while foundation stones were laid on a daily basis for various projects to improve the lot of those affected in the South.

While foreign leaders were taken to the south, none of them visited the most affected areas in the east. No attention was paid to develop the worst affected east coast villages which were areas predominantly occupied by Muslims and even government officials from Ampara failed to visit these areas in and around Kalmunai.

The situation in the east did not improve even two years after the tsunami. The then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, slammed Sri Lanka’s warring parties, the government and the LTTE, for the violence that had slowed rebuilding after the tsunami. “No one could have prevented the tsunami’s wave of destruction. But together we can stem the tide of conflict, which threatens once again to engulf the people of Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Annan who, in contrast, praised Indonesia for the spirit of solidarity in rebuilding the tsunami-affected areas. “In Sri Lanka, that spirit has not been sustained.”

Summing up the situation, a compassionate Sinhalese columnist had this to state ten years ago in his column in the Island.

“It is true that we did rise to the occasion, but sadly it is also true that we folded up even faster than it took us to stand tall. This is why at 9.30 a.m. on December 26, if we mourn anything, we should mourn the tragic fact that we could not respond adequately as citizens, as fellow human beings. Perhaps we should all go to the beach, if not to show gratitude, to lament. Let us, when we do this, or whatever else we find ourselves doing at that most inauspicious time, reflect on the fact that in this Buddhist country there is a thing called karma pala, that while some things are bad, among the worst is the intent to prey on misery, and that such transgressions have a way of constructing appropriate punishments. I suggest, humbly, that we recognise in our blood streams, in our heartbeats and our sinews the sad truth that we have failed and hope that this recognition generates in all of us the first seeds of resolve that allows us to do better. Let us resolve to rectify our errors and truly emerge as a people worthy of a nation, simply by developing the faculty of sympathy and gathering the strength to move forward, not alone but with each and everyone left behind by the tsunami waves.”

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Latest comments

  • 12
    1

    What happened to the Tsunami aids? Why don’t you know the ”Helping Hambantota” and how MaRa gulped funds into his dirty fat belly overnight?
    Moron Sarath Silva acquitted MaRa all his scandalous corruption of Helping Hambantota paved the way for him (MaRa) even to become a president.
    What followed next….? He and the family thugs helped themselves to rob me, you and the entire nation to the core. Lived in the fantasy world of Mattala Airport, Hambantotoa Harbour, Mihin Air, highways to the backyards (conveniently forgetting much needed Kandy-Colombo high way), Lotus Tower, Port City, holiday bungalows with bunkers to killing Thaujudeen, Eknelligoda, innocent Tamil civilians ignoring the warnings and cautions from environmentalist to journalists.

    These are the people spoiled the innocent Sinhalese youth with booze and drugs to plant the racist seeds dragged them far, far away unto Wilpattu and rise of LTTE issue.

    If My3 prolong these Mara/GoRa/Gnansara/WiWe/Gammanpillai/Dinesh pack of wolves to roam free, he who will soon find the end of the road very soon!!!!!

    • 3
      2

      Latheef Farook

      RE: Eleven Years After Tsunami; Muslims Still Live In Makeshift Huts

      “Eleven years after Tsunami waves and billions of aid and grants; Some Muslims still live in makeshift huts”

      Ask for an Investigation into the Stolen Tsunami funds. Tell the Bribery Commission.

      Double standards?

      “26 years after Ethnic cleansing of northern Muslims by LTTE Tamils, a war crime, still Some Muslims still live in the jungle displacing the animals.”

      Ask for an investigation here too.

      Double standards?

      • 1
        4

        It was ok for them to join Sinhalese racist mobs armed forces politicians to loot murder rape burn thousands of Tamils Tamil homes in properties in the south of the island and in the east they joined with STF to again burn loot murder and ethnically cleanse the Tamils in their thousands. It is the Tamils who are the real and original people of the east and it is their land. These refugee immigrants from South India fleeing Sinhalese and European persecution were given asylum in the east a few centuries ago and are now trying to chase the Tamils who gave them asylum, and take over their land with the help of the illegal Sinhalese settlers who were settled in the east after independence. All these Muslim Politicians and elite are very quiet and mum about these large scale atrocities and war crimes they committed against the Tamils with the connivance of the Sri Lankan government and armed forces. Yet jump up and down about the northern Muslims whose numbers are a fraction of what they ethnically cleansed and killed Tamils by their hands. Many of these Tamils are still not allowed to return to their homes and lands. I have never seem this man or any other Muslim condemn this or bring this up. All their attention is focused only on themselves. Nothing left for others.
        Even now they are stealing Tamil lands with the help of their politicians the Sinhalese Sri Lankan state and armed forces( this the main reason this Sinhalese armed forces are in the north and east. Under the pretext of security to kill murder ethnically cleanse Tamils and steal their land and hand it to illegal Sinhalese settlers and Muslims)They are stealing Tamil and state lands. Recetly under the pretext of expanding the Kalmunai town in the east. The Muslim council there with the help and backing all Muslim politicians in the east and nationally are staking steps to take over thousands of acres of agricultural fishing and grazing lands belonging to the Tamils in this area. Strange the lands to be taken over are more than 90% belonging only to the Tamils in Kalmuai for this so called urban expansion. Hardly any Muslim land to be acquired in an area full of Muslims. Isn’t this really strange and weird. Under the guise of development only Tamil lands to be acquired and hardly any Muslim land in an area full of Muslims. They make up around 70% in Kalmunai and Tamils 30%. This naked and undisguised ethnic cleansing in the false pretext of urban expansion. Only Tamil lands needed for urban expansion very selectively expanding into Tamil lands only. They want to chase the Tamils and then distribute this land to the Muslims and make it a Tamil free area. Tamils have lived here for thousands of years and now these asylum seeking refuges who came here a few years ago are systematically chasing Tamils from their ancient lands. All this because they get the support of these illegal Sinhalese racist settlers who came a few decades ago. The TNA that really got the most amount of votes and seats individually in the east and the eastern Tamils who are the real owners of the land are now getting shut of government employment education Land ETC by the ganging up of these two recent settler groups that only came here recently. One as refugee asylum seekers are few centuries ago and the other illegally settled on ethnically cleansed Tamil lands by all racist Sinhalese Sri Lankan government since independence. Why is this man and every Sinhalese and Muslim Politician quiet about this. This happening on one side whilst the Sinhalese governor in the east is taking settle Sinhalese families from the south in Vaharai in Batticaloa in Tamil lands, whilst many Tamils in the area are homeless.
        Most probably Saudi Arabia is also financing the expansion of the Wahhabi Islamic city of Kalmunai on ethnically cleansed Tamil lands just like they fund everything Islamic in the island building of Wahhabi mosques Schools the Islamisation of the east from ancient historic Hindu Tamil. Anything that causes tension grief in the name of Islam. Why was only funding given to rebuild Muslim homes only by Saudi Arabia when hundreds of thousands of Tamils in the same area suffered and thousands of Sinhalese down south, Why aren’t these people also humans to the Saudis? All other international national and diaspora donors irrespective of being Buddhist Christian Hindu Sinhalese or Tamils gave money for all the victims, irrespective of ethnicity or religion as this was a human calamity. However only Saudi Arabia and the Muslims funded for the Muslims only and even this as per this author did not reach them.

        • 3
          0

          Paul

          “Why was only funding given to rebuild Muslim homes only by Saudi Arabia when hundreds of thousands of Tamils in the same area suffered and thousands of Sinhalese down south, Why aren’t these people also humans to the Saudis? “

          Saudis, give funds only to Wahaabis and their clones.

          They do not give funds to Sufis, Shia or Ahmedia Muslims, Tamils or Sinhala. you have to be a Wahhabi. That means must follow the Wahhabi Satan, Devil, Iblis.

          If you are willing to follow Saudi Wahhabi Satanic rules, you too can get Money. The Christians did that for a long time, and do that now too.

    • 3
      0

      What about the Sinhalese and the Tamils?

      As far as this man is concerned no one else seems to matter, apart from kona kepuwas.

      A shameless man.

      • 2
        0

        Pena Kiyanna

        “As far as this man is concerned no one else seems to matter, apart from kona kepuwas.”

        Need to be Wahhabi kona kepuwas. Ordinary kona kepuwas wont do.

  • 1
    0

    “Besides five hundred houses built for Muslim tsunami victims by the Saudi government still remain unoccupied and virtually collapsing amidst growing jungle due to a court case” this attitude won’t be tolerated. Promoting of religious and Muslim culture within a country where other people live alongside Muslims.

    The government should follow the Singaporean style distribution in order to maintain the racial harmony.

    • 2
      0

      The ruling by the Court against the houses being given to the Muslims was on the that the Ministry responsible for the construction has not obtained ‘the permission of the Divisional Secretary to use the land’. This administrative lapsed could have been corrected by the President, but it was not done

      • 1
        0

        To my knowledge both Rauf Hakim and Rishard Badiuddin had been Ministers of Rehabilitation in the past and they are always in the cabinets, Blue, Green or Hybrid. What were they doing?

  • 9
    0

    I commend Lateef Farook for shining a light on the abominable looting of Tsunami relief funds. A lot of the loot is safely parked with former Rajapassa cronies. In their bank accounts. Both here and abroad. Worst of the scum is not an over statement.

    BTW, isn’t it time to take in RADA Alles. He should be able to explain a lot, if properly interrogated.

    Any support earmarked for a certain ethnic group only in this country should be handled with caution. Applies specially to funds from KSA or Qatar etc. That is how they do stuff in those primitive states. Those standards should not be welcome here. Otherwise we will end up with bigger problem than the Tsunami.

    Victims are victims. Whether one is Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim is irrelevant.

    No Tsunami victim should be homeless by now in this country. If so, what a national shame. Even by corrupt GOSL standards.

    Cheers!

    PS: The photo is from Puttalam district. There was no Tsunami there.

  • 4
    3

    Others are living in luxury houses in North-East??????

    What happened to Tsunami founds allocated to Muslims ???

    Today Muslims are forcefully taking Lands belong to Tamils and State ..with full support ofMuslims politicians..

    When there is no cat …rats are dancing …for how long???

    Don’t worry one day Muslims in North-East will float on seas like Rohingas muslims of Burma ….even guardian of Islam Saudi Arabia who today encourage you to dress like them ..won`t look at you then then.

    Because Arabs treat you like shits ….

    Cheers

    • 2
      1

      The most amount of displaced people living in abject poverty in the North and East are the Tamils not the Muslims. They are now thriving in the east and depriving the numerically larger Tamil population of everything. From government, education, employment to land rights. Now the Tamils in the east have become a voiceless subjugated people in their own land. Due to the unholy coalition between the Muslims and the Sinhalese in the east both settler communities that arrived here recently. The former as refugees and the later settled illegally by successive Sinhalese led governments after independence. This was done deliberately to reduce the indigenous population the east, the Tamils, into a voiceless minority and we can see the results. However this man ignores all this and keeps on harping about the Muslims only.

  • 0
    1

    I am disappointed at the wholesale theft of the tsunami relief fund by the government. All communities, not only the Muslims, lost out to the then corrupt government. However in passing you’ve said “Besides five hundred houses built for Muslim tsunami victims by the Saudi government still remain unoccupied and virtually collapsing amidst growing jungle due to a court case”. If the Saudi aid was reserved exclusively for Muslims, that is unacceptable. Most of the funds came from Christians, Buddhists and Hindus etc. but to my knowledge none of them made any stipulations as to how the money should be spent.

  • 0
    1

    It is a totally shameful situation similar to IDPs in the north still living in ‘centres’.
    This is total proof that successive governments have failed in their care of minorities.

    Meanwhile, they want a new constitution without even enforcing the relevant sections of the present one.

    Latheef Farook must focus on this.
    There are muslim politicos who are reportedly building houses in restricted areas, for their supporters only – Farook should tell them about this situation – and, about the vanished donations & grants – the very first one was the infamous “Hambantota Account”.

    To cleanse the ‘Augean Stables’ left behind by successive regimes – the last one the worst – will take decades.
    Is it any wonder that most Lankans wish to ‘escape’ abroad?

  • 2
    1

    Top Five – Ask the Muslim Ministers about the funds they handled.

  • 2
    3

    This is written else where in CT.

    This is how muslim politicians destroy Sri lankan forest reserves and animal sancturies.

    Every government that comes to power used to say that those who involve in illegal felling and forest clearing will take into task. But that did not happen as envisaged in the past. In most of such activities either politicians or influential people were involved. In some cases officials were involved. But none were taken to task. Latest case is forest land clearance in Wilpattu National Park and adjoining forest reserves. Island news paper of 18th December 2015 reported that Environmental Organizations have stated that “deforestation was not limited to the Wilpattu National Park; 15 forest reserves in the Northern Province are faced with the same problem”. According to them currently over 17,000 acres of forest lands have been cleared so far for resettlement purposes (Island 18/12/2015). It is well known that conservation forests cannot be cleared for illegal settlements and it is an offence under the Forest Conservation Ordinance and National Environment Act. Officials of relevant agencies are helpless in these cases as those responsible, according to the news reports, are powerful politicians.

  • 1
    2

    Muslims Talk only about their welfare, their advancement. Thye don’t talk about how ridiculous and sinful they are because of their religion;

    Coldly itemized in 15 points, a newly discovered fatwa from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant outlines the particulars of when it believes a follower can rape a woman without violating Sharia law.

    Released by Reuters on Tuesday, Fatwa No. 64 is dated Jan. 29, 2015 and details the extremist group’s rules for sexual slavery, a topic ISIL theologians say has “not been dealt with in ages.”

    ISIL’s Committee of Research and Fatwa justifies the violence by suggesting that one of the “inevitable” consequences of jihad is that the women and children of infidels will become captives.

    • 1
      1

      A guidance and a mercy for those who do good. (Al Quran 31:4)
      145

      It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or the West, but truly righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and spends his money for love of Him, on the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask for charity, and for ransoming the captives; and who observes Prayer and pays the Zakat; and those who fulfill their promise when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and afflictions and the steadfast in time of war; it is these who have proved truthful and it is these who are the God-fearing. (Al Quran 2:178)

      Indeed, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression. He admonished you that you may take heed. (Al Quran 16:91)

      Then reward of goodness is nothing but goodness. (Al Quran 55:61)

      And good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with that which is best. And lo, he between whom and thyself was enmity will become as though he were a warm friend. But none is granted it save those who are steadfast; and none is granted it save those who possess a large share of good. (Al Quran 41:35-36)

      And worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbor that is a kinsman and the neighbor that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Surely, Allah loves not the proud and the boastful. (Al Quran 4:37)

    • 0
      1

      good thing about Jimmi Boi’s comments is when you read 1st 4 words you can decide how to vote. Keep it UP !

    • 0
      0

      Hi Jim

      Why dont you join the Terrorist Group ISIS and carry out the Fatwas of fanatics and lunatics.

  • 1
    0

    Why does Latheef Farouk only talk of unfairness to one religious community, alone? A community who is privy to directly targeted aid from the middle east, especially from Saudi Arabia, which at times has been discriminatory and even subversive.

    What about the rural masses of Sri Lanka, who have been disadvantaged by these minority elements and their opportunistic political manoeuvrings.

    Does this not make him and his Saudi aligned cohorts, another bunch of racists?

  • 3
    1

    Muslims don’t want to criticize their own;

    Islamic State theologians have issued an extremely detailed ruling on when “owners” of women enslaved by the extremist group can have sex with them, in an apparent bid to curb what they called violations in the treatment of captured females.

    The ruling or fatwa has the force of law and appears to go beyond IS’s previous known utterances on the subject, a leading Islamic State scholar said.

    It sheds new light on how the group is trying to reinterpret centuries-old teachings to justify the sexual slavery of women in the swaths of Syria and Iraq it controls.

    The fatwa was among a huge trove of documents captured by US Special Operations Forces during a raid targeting a top IS official in Syria in May.

    Among the religious rulings are bans on a father and son having sex with the same female slave; and the owner of a mother and daughter having sex with both.

  • 2
    3

    pack these muslim pests to desserts in middle east

    • 0
      0

      Middle East! Why Just because they are Muslim does not mean they are from the Middles East. They are not of Arab descent or from the desserts of Middle East but from the slums and plains of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Even the Arabs have correctly stated that they are descended from largely low caste Hindu converts from South Asia and not of Arab ancestry. Many of them still have close relatives living in South India

  • 1
    0

    Farook,

    “Eleven Years After Tsunami; Muslims Still Live In Makeshift Huts”

    Correct.

    There are many who live in huts and most are not Muslims.

  • 1
    1

    Why are you pleading a special case for the Muslims? There were other people affected by the tsunami. Muslim politicians were in the Rajapakse government. They kept mum about all the swindles. Now, you want special treatment for a small section of the affected people. Maybe, you should ask the Wahabis for funds.

    • 1
      0

      Ponkoh Sivakumaran

      “Muslim politicians were in the Rajapakse government. “

      So were the Tamils, Douglas, Pillayan, ……. etc.

      Does it make any difference to the ordinary people who continues to suffer from the adverse effects of Tsunami to this day?

  • 3
    3

    rishad Bathiuuddin cleared wilpattu

    Now, he is clearing Kilinochchi.

    what else.

    • 1
      0

      Jim softy

      “rishad Bathiuuddin cleared wilpattu”

      Why? Rajapakdsa should have sent them back to where thery were chased by the lTTeR.

      But what did Mahinda Rakapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaka, do?

      He cleared the Mattala Jungle, which is now populated by Buffaloes.

      Are Sinhala Buddhists and Sri Lankans Buffaloes?

  • 0
    0

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