Sri Lanka

ADB grants emergency assistance for flood-affected districts in southern Sri Lanka

News and Press Release
Originally published
MANILA, PHILIPPINES (9 July 2004) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide emergency assistance amounting to US$12.5 million to help rehabilitate transport infrastructure damaged during severe flooding in southern Sri Lanka in May 2003.

The assistance will restore roads and bridges to pre-flood conditions in five of the worst-hit districts in the south - Galle, Hambantota, Kalutara, Matara, and Ratnapura.

It will repair 450 km of the national, provincial, and local road network, plus bridges damaged by the flood, including ADB-financed road and bridge improvements that have been damaged or washed away.

"The road sector has the largest scope of rehabilitation work required to restore the road networks to preflood conditions," says Robert Rinker, Portfolio Management Specialist at ADB's Sri Lanka Resident Mission.

"This assistance will answer urgent rehabilitation needs and help restore normalcy in the project areas."

Torrential rains on 17 and 18 May 2003 resulted in the worst flooding in Sri Lanka in more than 50 years. The floodwaters and associated landslides damaged or destroyed roads, bridges, power, and telephone lines, education facilities and equipment, health facilities, housing, and irrigation works.

Roughly 146,000 families were affected. With water levels rising to as much as 10 meters above normal, about 10,000 homes were destroyed and a further 30,000 houses partly damaged.

About 535 km of national highways, 700 km of provincial roads, and an extensive volume of local government roads incurred some type of damage from floods or landslides. In addition, a large number of roads improved under the ADB-funded Southern Provincial Road Improvement Project were damaged.

Other international aid organizations and multilateral development banks have also extended assistance and provided donations, such as for immediate relief needs, water and sanitation, health, and rehabilitation of damaged housing.

The assistance will be coursed through the ongoing $80 million Road Network Improvement Project approved in 1998, which is helping to improve road network planning and management in the country. It will be financed through savings from six other ongoing ADB-assisted projects in Sri Lanka, funded through the Asian Development Fund, ADB's concessional financing instrument.

The Government is contributing $5 million equivalent to the total rehabilitation cost of $17.5 million.

The Road Development Authority will execute the rehabilitation assistance, which will be carried out over two years.

ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 63 members - 45 from the region. In 2003, it approved loans and technical assistance amounting to US$6.1 billion and US$177 million, respectively.

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