Charity match didnít help Sri Lanka Ė Murali

Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralidaran has accused World Vision of failing to pass on more than $14 million raised at last yearís tsunami match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Muralidaran, who narrowly escaped the tsunami and fronted World Vision initiatives in its aftermath, said the devastated southern region of Sri Lanka had not received any donations.

"We havenít seen records of them doing anything in Sri Lanka," he said. "I donít know where the money has gone."

Muralidaran did thank Steve Waugh. "He has given 10 houses," he said.

World Visionís chief executive, Tim Costello, denied Muralidaranís claims, saying he had seen work completed by the charity in Sri Lanka.

Figures released by World Vision on Thursday showed that money raised from the charity one-day cricket match was distributed to countries hit by the tsunami, which killed between 220,000 and 400,000 people.

"That is one of the most bizarre comments I have heard in my life," Mr Costello said, when told of Muralidaranís assertions. "I was in Sri Lanka just before Christmas and saw the work we were doing myself."

Sri Lanka Government spokesman Nimal Siripala de Silva said he could not comment on the dispensation of tsunami funds by World Vision but confirmed there had been concerned about reconstruction work by some foreign charities.

A diplomatic source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "The perception is that World Vision is not performing on the ground, particularly in the area of housing reconstruction. Not a single permanent house has been built."

A World Vision spokesman said construction oof 2000 permanent houses was underway and 2200 temporary shelters had been built.

(The Age)



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