Flood in Sri Lanka

– Tamil people and Sinhala poor abandoned by government and ‘international community’

The eastern, north-central and northern parts of Sri Lanka registered more than 300 millimetres rain in one day. It has cost more than 30 lives and more than one million people are displaced. Thousand of villagers are totally displaced, and a couple of villages have been made into islands by the flood. Therefore their aid relief has been stopped by the many difficulties of reaching them. The delay in aid reaching them means several elderly people have died from the cold weather. If aid had reached them in time, they would not have died.

 In the flood disaster, about a dozen hospitals were closed, more than ten thousand houses were destroyed, and thousands of houses were partly damaged. One-fifth of the land used to cultivate rice is flooded, with some of this land now unusable for farming.

 Everyone has been affected by the government’s reaction. The Sri Lanka Government spent only 100 rupees ($0.60) per day for each person. The UN’s immediate aid was not enough, and none of it was provided in the east, where people needed it most. UN aid did not reach the east for two weeks, after huge pressure forced it to act! The government is spending aid, and telling the agencies to provide aid, only where people vote for it. This is like the tsunami all over again.

 The government’s reaction to the flood is hated by minority Tamils and poor Sinhala people. The same Rajapaksa regime spent millions of dollars every day in the war. His regime will spend money to kill people but not to save people, whether Tamil or poor Sinhala. This incident again proved that this government is for big business, not for Sri Lanka’s ordinary people of any community. 

The government offices give the aid to the people they know, and take some of the aid money for their own pockets. This inhuman corruption needs to stop. Aid relief must be controlled by the people who need it.

This is not the only incident. There is live evidence that the Sri Lanka government still holds 50,000 Tamil people in detention camps nearly two years after the war ended. 11,000 young people are kept in special camps under suspicion of being Tamil Tigers, without any charge. These brutal treatments are against Sri Lankan and international law. If this government cared about the Tamil minority people, it is time they were all re-settled.

The Sri Lankan government is getting $millions in donations from all around the world and spending this on building bridges, building highways, building railways, building shipping ports, and many other things for big business.

If the government spent this money to re-settle the imprisoned Tamil people and cleared up the land-mines that would be plenty. If the people were re-settled and allowed to rebuild their lives and jobs, that would give a stronger long-term economic boost to the north than building those things.

This government could win the war but still not win the Tamil people’s hearts. Instead of winning hearts by doing good things, the SL regime is interested only in controlling the Tamil people through the military and para-military forces. The minority people’s anger will get worse if the government continues these actions.