COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (9 June 2017) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $2 million grant to finance relief efforts in the country following the recent floods and landslides that claimed the lives of over 200 people and damaged the homes and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands more.
“Considering the scope of the damage in Sri Lanka and the government’s constrained resources, it is critical that we assist the people of Sri Lanka in this time of urgent need,” said Sri Widowati, ADB Country Director in Sri Lanka.
The $2 million is being provided to the government as a grant under ADB’s Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund to purchase emergency relief materials and help restore community services.
“ADB stands ready to assist in the long-term rehabilitation of the calamity-hit areas,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said in a letter to Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena, as he offered his deepest condolences to the people and affected families in Sri Lanka.
On 25 and 26 May 2017, torrential rains caused widespread flooding and landslides in 15 of the 25 districts of Sri Lanka. The heavy rains caused several major reservoirs to overflow. Flood gates were fully opened to avoid a dam breach, causing flooding downstream and submerging entire villages. Major landslides in several districts of the Sabaragamuwa province caused further havoc, damaging and burying homes in mudslides. Though the tropical storm passed over Sri Lanka, rain continued over the island as the normal southwest monsoon settled in, aggravating the already disastrous situation. Many of the affected people in rural areas were among the most vulnerable in the country and have lost their homes and livelihoods.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.