The recent wave of violence in the north and east has pushed poverty figures higher than usual, the Department of Census and Statistics said. While the north-east has been rated the poorest province in the country, Director General, Department of Census and Statistics, A. G. W. Nanayakkara said Hambantota, Kurunegala and Moneragala also suffer from acute poverty.
The official poverty figure for January, the latest available stood at Rs. 1,928 per person per month.
Of the 17 districts reviewed by the department, nine fell below the national line.
However, the districts in the north and east were not included in the review.
The figure for Hambantota , the lowest for the island was Rs. 1,812. For Kurunegala it was Rs. 1,832 and for Moneragala it was Rs. 1,851.
Meanwhile, the richest areas recorded were Colombo with Rs. 2,082 in January and February.Kalutara came second on the list with Rs. 2,063 while Gampaha came third with Rs. 2,044.
However, Nanayakkara warned that poverty had caused many people, especially in the north and east to flee the country and seek refuge overseas. "The only way we could reduce the national poverty line is by restoring peace in the country," Nanayakkara said.The figures adopted by the department are lower than the international poverty line of US$ 1 (Rs. 100) per day. If the figure was applied, all of the 17 districts fall below the line.