Sri Lanka expects foreign aid to finance most of Rs1.7bn reconstruction
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is expecting foreign aid to finance at least 75 percent of the 1.7 billion dollars of property damage to flood victims, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.
Reconstruction mostly involves destroyed houses and tens of thousands of houses which are structurally damaged and may collapse, he said.
Some small houses would cost about 800,000 rupees to build but others would cost about 2.5 million rupees (17,000 dollars) to rebuild, he said.
While many houses were completely destroyed, 20,000 houses were structurally damaged and was probably not safe to live in he said.
"There is a roof over your head but these houses were under water for seven days," he told members of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Corrrespondents’ Association.
"These houses are 50, 60 years old."
He was expecting foreign aid to cover about 75 percent of the estimated reconstruction of about 1.7 billion US dollars, he said.
"There is a lot of expressions of support and we would like to see it converted to monetary terms," he said.
"There is a certainly a desire to help."
Sri Lanka has not declared an official disaster ’emergency’ which can unlock large volumes of funds kept by donor agencies and Western governments but a Presidential proclamation identifying a natural disaster requesting aid will go out which has a similar effect, Karunanayake said.
The aid can be grants or borrowings, he said.
Uninsured disaster victims can also get an immediate cash advance from a catastrophic insurance cover taken by the government through the state-run National Insurance Trust Fund, he said.
Victims should register and submit claims via the state disaster management office, he said. (Colombo/May26/2016)