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Stricken regions aim to keep reconstruction local


GOVERNMENTS IN India, Thailand and Sri Lanka, are rejecting help from external consultants and charities in favour of using their own resources.

'India is a very proud country and it is very keen to show the rest of the world what it can do it itself, ' said Scott Wilson international director Eddie Foster.

'The military are already mobilised and the state government is co-ordinating the clear up. They have no problems receiving humanitarian aid from agencies but they are not looking for help from either local or foreign consultants, ' he said.

Officials at Sri Lanka's government-led disaster recovery unit Centre for National Operations (CNO) told NCEI that it wants the majority of work to be done by local fi rms to ensure as much aid as possible is spent on the ground and not on paying overseas experts.

CNO housing and redevelopment leader David Muller said international firms would have some involvement as a condition for getting foreign aid. 'We will need international firms because we need the money from bilateral aid. But we also need to provide jobs and develop skills for the future.' Thailand has also rejected offers of aid from charities and consultants and is coordinating its own relief effort internally.

Tsumani damage in southern India has been limited to the state of Tamil Nadu but it is widespread.

India's ICE representative, structural engineer Pattuadi Kesava Murth told NCEI that the marina in the city of Chennai was saved by the high sided Adyar River, which runs through the city, which took a massive volume of water which otherwise would have swamped houses and offi ces.

In the Maldives all water supply wells are polluted with saltwater. Oxfam was due to send out three small scale desalination units, the first to be used in the islands.

Also arriving will be 10 galvanised steel storage tanks with a capacity of 6,800 litres and two slurry pumps to clear out flooded septic tanks.

The Andaman slands nitially refused entry to relief organisations, but an Oxfam engineer is now on the ground.

'Ninety percent of the houses and public buildings are damaged, four bridges have collapsed and shelter has become a big problem, ' said Oxfam public health engineering adviser Rick Bauer. 'People are using drinking water wells which urgently need disinfection.' In Somalia, the World Health Organisation estimates that polluted water sources could reach as far as 50km inland.

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