BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka – Britain's Prince Charles (search) told tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka (search) he was saddened by their loss and the United Nations got ready to report on the region's progress in recovering from the disaster.
Charles, who arrived by helicopter in Sri Lanka's Batticaloa region, met survivors and aid workers Monday, saying he was "terribly upset" by the devastation from the tsunami (search) that killed more than 31,000 people in the former British colony and left another 1 million homeless.
"I feel awful," he was quoted as saying by Britain's Press Association after meeting Red Cross volunteers who were clearing rubble from destroyed homes. "All I have done is interrupt their very hard work."
The Indian Ocean tsunami killed between 172,000 and 182,000 people when it swept coastlines in 11 nations, with more than 100,000 still missing and presumed dead. Indonesia was hardest hit, accounting for three-quarters of the dead, followed by Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.
The prince's visit came as the U.N. Development Program's regional director was returning from a two-week tour of some of the worst-affected countries and planned to deliver his assessment of progress and remaining challenges in Bangkok.
The UNDP says it has received $94 million so far from 21 donors for use in tsunami relief on individual country projects and regional ones.
During his visit to Sri Lanka, Prince Charles spoke with Tamil fisherman Vellupillai Sellaiya, asking if he had received any help in recovering his business. Watched by Sri Lankan officials accompanying Charles, Sellaiya told him he had not, but that the government had promised to help.
The government has been accused of being slow in the delivery of aid to the northeast, where parts of the region are controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels and most of Sri Lanka's 3.2 million minority Tamils live. The government has denied the charge.
Later, the prince visited a damaged Hindu temple, where he spoke with a priest. He was given a garland and painted with a round, orange mark on his forehead, part of Hindu tradition to bless temple visitors.