Relief keeps coming, but who gets what?
By Chandani Kirinde
There are more than 800 camps for the tsunami-displaced right along the southern coast, but questions are being asked whether the necessary aid is getting to them on an equal basis.

While some camps were getting excess food and clothing, many others were getting the bare minimum with some people being forced to beg on the roadside even for a packet of rice.

Among those hardest hit is the fishing community. Even though some have survived and their homes still intact, they have lost their means of livelihood, which has also made them as destitute as those families who have lost their homes and loved ones.

W.Kamalawathie was standing on the Galle Road at Ambalangoda waiting for the relief vehicles to pass by." We are alive. Our homes are still standing there but our boats are destroyed. So how can we make a living and find money to buy our food?" she asks.

As we drive along the Galle Road, people were swamping vehicles that were stopping to give handouts. It was evident that children were being used by some, as they would attract more sympathy. Amidst allegations that most of those begging on the road side were not affected by the tsunamis, there are reports of fights breaking out among genuine refugees and those posing as refugees.

Government officials in the area have asked all affected people to register with them in the camps, which have been put up temporarily. But many people who are not used to living in camps come there only to collect whatever rations are being handed out and get back to their homes or a relatives home to spend the nights.

People whose homes are now in ruins too are going back, sifting through the rubble during the day, and trying to salvage whatever they can. Some have been provided tents by UN organisations and they have set up camps on the foundations of what was once their homes.

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