Date: 19 Apr 2005
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) last week approved a US$197 million grant and loan package for two projects that will help rebuild tsunami- and conflict-affected areas of Sri Lanka. External funding for the projects will total $256 million including grant co-financing by the European Commission and Sweden. A $150 million grant and a $7 million loan for the Tsunami-affected Areas Rebuilding Project (TAARP) will help to rapidly improve the living conditions of people in tsunami-affected areas by restoring basic social infrastructure, community and public services, and livelihoods. An additional $14 million grant and a $26 million loan for the North East Community Restoration and Development Project II (NECORD II) will continue the Government's rehabilitation program in conflict-affected areas of the Northern and Eastern provinces. As Sri Lanka is eligible to receive grants from ADB's concessional Asian Development Fund (ADF), both this grant and loan will come from ADF.
The government of Turkey has contributed US $700,000 to the Sri Lankan President's fund for Disaster Relief to be used exclusively for relief and humanitarian efforts carried out by the Government.
Overview of activities
An FAO Salinity Consultant reported that 10,400 acres of farm land had been destroyed by the tsunami, including 8,000 acres of paddy land. The rest was land cultivated for vegetable, fruit and other crops. A total of 27,000 home gardens were destroyed. In total, 40 per cent of the damaged land will be ready for cultivation this Yala season and 70 per cent for the Maha season. The Sri Lankan Minister of Agriculture said the direct damage to the farmers of the tsunami is $US 3.5 million. An FAO Senior Agriculture Advisor, said 273 tonnes of paddy seed together with just over 1,000 tons of fertilizer and funds for vegetable production and other field crops are needed in the four districts of Ampara, Hambantota, Matara and Galle for the Yala Season. He said that about 148,000 chickens had been killed in the tsunami as well as some 7,600 cattle, 4,900 buffalo, 118 pigs and 14,200 goats. FAO's main focus is to restore the poultry sector as soon as possible.
According to a study done by FAO's Senior Advisor for Fisheries, with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the total number of traditional craft (canoes) destroyed by the tsunami is 9,975. Thus far, according to FAO, 741 new boats have been built and provided to recipients by a variety of NGOs, the Prime Minister's Office, associations and individuals. A total of 11,217 are to be constructed. Nearly 10,000 such boats were destroyed by the tsunami, with the East Coast being hardest hit with total losses of 4,340 traditional boats.
The Women's Chamber of Commerce (WCC) in Matara and Save the Children ( SCiSL) are providing fabric and other assistance to women in Matara who are sewing 500 school uniforms with sewing machines already provided them by SCiSL and theWCC. In Trincomalee district Save the Children has begun construction of 46 out of a total of 118 temporary shelters; and is supporting the cleaning of 400 wells in the district. Main challenges and responses
According to the UN Joint Logistical CentreOn 26 April relief consignments of UN agencies at the Colombo port and airport will no longer be exempt from taxes and duties when new clearance procedures are to be introduced. The same applies for consignments donated directly to the Government of Sri Lanka. NGOs can only acquire duty and tax concessions by handing their consignments to the Government's Department of Social Services for distribution or by accepting its supervision when it comes to distributing the commodities to the affected areas. Aware of the fact that the current customs procedures will change on 26 April, most UN agencies and NGOs are stepping up their efforts to clear as much cargo as possible before that deadline.
While some UN agencies have made progress in clearing their relief containers – including UNICEF which recently had 68 containers released, significant delays still exist. In the first week of April, approximately 290 containers of cargo were yet to be cleared from the Colombo port. This figure has now been reduced somewhat and agencies are clearing consignments with relative ease while Government consignments run smoothly through customs. UNHCR currently has 30 containers yet to be cleared from the private container yard in addition to 12 newly arrived containers at the port. UNICEF has 44 containers currently at the port. The majority of the consignments at the port belong to the Government. A small proportion belongs to international NGOs.
According to Save the Children, in Matara, 29 cases of Dengue fever have been reported in the last month. Medical authorities say that the situation is under control, however, they need more support on sanitation. "