NEWS

Tsunami aid yet to reach victims

About two-thirds of the 15 million euros Greece collected to help the tsunami victims of Southeast Asia has not been sent over to the ravaged area due to security concerns, according to a source at the Foreign Ministry. The tsunami hit countries around the Indian Ocean in December 2004 and resulted in the death of 220,000 people. Soon afterward, Greece collected 15 million euros through various fund-raising efforts. It was the biggest donation drive in the country’s history but 8-10 million euros remains in the hands of the Foreign Ministry. The government has given the green light to fund non-governmental organizations and their projects in Sri Lanka and Indonesia but the procedure seems to have stopped there. The money has not gone to the victims due to security concerns for foreign officials in the region, the source said. Attacks on aid workers have been recorded in parts of Southeast Asia but this has not stopped some other governments from taking action. The holdup in money reaching the area has not just occurred in Greece. According to data presented by the World Bank, the $8.5 billion (6.7 billion euros) gathered across the world to help tsunami victims has been slow in reaching its destination. Officials involved in efforts to rebuild the areas hardest hit have also pointed out that the money has not been used effectively. Some construction projects, such as the building of schools, have not taken into account local conditions, such as great exposure to the sun, the World Bank added. The Foreign Ministry said that Greece has officially earmarked a total of 35 million euros in tsunami aid, of which 16.2 million was sent the first few months after the disaster struck.