Public urged to offer aid in kind to dept., cash to ministry
The public is called to hand over flood relief items to the social services department and financial contributions to the Finance Ministry for proper distribution and utilisation in relief work.
A special disaster management cell has been established at the Prime Ministers office to co-ordinate all relief activities in the Ratnapura, Matara, Galle and Hambantota districts. The cell functions under the Disaster Management Committee headed by Minister Karu Jayasuriya.
A spokesman of the disaster management cell told "The Island" they have four collection centres in Kelaniya, the Colombo Municipal Council, the Social Services Department in Bambalapitiya and at Sethsiripaya. He said that various groups and organisations handed over their donations in kind to these centres which were then distributed in the flood affected areas.
Distribution work is being carried out through the district secretariats and other government agencies. The spokesman said that private organisations, and NGOs too collect relief items and distribute them in the affected areas. The Red Cross also has its own relief distribution mechanism. However in many areas flood victims are crying foul and say that various people and corrupt officials are tampering with the relief material.
All financial contributions for the reconstruction of flood-affected areas are handled by the Finance Ministry. Donations made by foreign countries are also handled through the Finance Ministry. A large amount of funds were received from the governments of US, Japan, UK, Norway, Australia, Germany and Canada for the reconstruction effort.
The Finance Ministry maintains a special flood relief account at the Bank of Ceylon Taprobane branch and has requested private sector companies, individuals and professionals to contribute generously for flood relief work. These contributions would be exempted from Income Tax, the Finance Ministry said.
Head of the Governments Disaster Management Committee Minister Karu Jayasuriya on Monday said that it was still difficult to assess the full damage caused by the floods. He earlier said that it would run into several millions of rupees.
In several areas infrastructure facilities such as roads, power and water supplies were completely destroyed and there is need reconstruction. Assessment of the total damage is being done by a committee which includes representatives of the Government Evaluation Department with the assistance of the Peradeniya and Moratuwa Universities. (KA)
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