COLOMBO, SRI LANKA - President Mahinda Rajapakse and visiting ADB Vice-President Liqun Jin today inaugurated reconstruction work on a Southern Province road badly damaged in the tsunami disaster.
Mr. Jin is visiting Sri Lanka to assess progress on ADB assistance for reconstruction and rehabilitation following the December 2004 tsunami. ADB has approved more than $240 million - mostly grants - in assistance for road rehabilitation, livelihood support, and rebuilding of social infrastructure in the country following the disaster.
The Matara-Wellawaya road inaugurated today is jointly funded by ADB and the European Union, and is closely linked to a network of tsunami-affected roads to be rehabilitated with funds from France, Japan, Spain, Sweden, US, and the World Bank. The rehabilitation costs of the ADB-assisted 158 km segment stretching into Eastern Province are estimated to be $40 million.
"While traveling in the past few days to review ADB-supported tsunami rehabilitation projects, I have been impressed by how much has been achieved," Mr. Jin said. "While we must recognize that projects, such as the road we inaugurate today, take many months to plan and design, we must never lose the sense of urgency. The affected people have to return to their normal lives as quickly as possible."
Following the disaster, ADB has already allocated $38.2 million for roads, $41.1 million for infrastructure and shelter, $4.8 million for restoration of livelihoods, $6.1 million for water supply projects, and $1.1 million for legal assistance.
In addition, a $2 million grant project from ADB's Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, financed by the Government of Japan, is employing about 4,500 families to improve the line drainage system of 500 km of local roads damaged by the tsunami.
During his visit, Mr. Jin viewed tsunami reconstruction work, met with affected people who are recipients of ADB assistance, and visited ADB project work sites. He also had policy dialogue on a wide range of issues with the President, treasury officials, private sector representatives, the Governor of the Central Bank, and Peace Secretariat officials.