Wissanu recommends tsunami complaint centers

BANGKOK (The Nation, Gazette): Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, back in Bangkok after reviewing the tsunami aid situation on the ground, will ask the Cabinet to set up complaint centers in the six disaster-hit provinces to field queries about the distribution of state funds and private donations to tsunami victims.

Government spokesman Chalermdej Jombunud said K. Wissanu would inform the Cabinet today about problems he uncovered during his inspection tours of Phang Nga and Phuket on Saturday.

He said the Deputy PM had discovered problems in five sub-committees responsible for the distribution of state funds and private donations to tsunami victims.

Some of the state aid money and private donations, he found, were not used to help tsunami victims, Chalermdej said. Some government agencies had used the budget to replace official cars that were damaged in the disaster, he added.

Tsunami victims in some provinces do not know how to get help, so the Deputy PM suggested that the government distribute handbooks to them. It is not yet clear if the Cabinet will agree to follow K. Wissanu’s suggestions.

Meanwhile, Phang Nga Governor Anuwat Metheeviboonwut told the Gazette that in Phang Nga there have been problems with people trying to get more than they are entitled to, such as fishermen who are entitled to get money to repair or replace their boats, but want more in order to pay employees; or people who want houses larger than those allocated to them.

He noted, “We have sent a list of small vendors [who have lost the equipment they need to continue in business] to the central government. Payment will depend on approval from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“In some cases we have found that people have applied for aid again after already receiving it, while in other cases people claimed to have lost a business when they did not in fact have one before the tsunami.

“As a result we have to insist that claimants produce some kind of paperwork, such as tax records, to prove that they did formerly have a business.”

At the other extreme was the problem of children whose parents had been missing since the tsunami, and who had no one to apply for aid on their behalf, he said.

Phuket News

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