Lanka needs USD 600 million for flood damage

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Colombo, Feb 13 (PTI) Sri Lanka needs at least USD 600million for reconstruction efforts after the damage caused bytwo rounds of heavy flooding that killed 64 people anddisplace over one million people, amid a lukewarm response toa UN appeal for international aid.

Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera saidthe state will spend up to 33 billion rupees (USD 300 million)to carry out urgent repairs to 50,000 homes and repair mainroads washed away by the floods.

"We will spend 33 billion (SLR) out of governmentmoney," Amaraweera said.

An equal amount will have to come from the privateindividuals for reconstruction efforts from the unprecedentedtwo rounds of heavy flooding that killed 64 people anddisplaced 1.2 million people.

A large number of those displaced were those who hadonly recently been resettled after decades of ethnic conflictbetween Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces that ended inMay 2009.

Amaraweera said the loss of rice crop was estimated atanother SLR 13 billion and expressed fears that the governmentmay not be able to fully compensate farmers for their lossesin January and February.

Meanwhile, a UN appeal for USD 51 million forimmediate relief work has had a lukewarm response with onlyabout a fifth of the money flowing in, official figuresshowed.

UN officials said they planned to issue a fresh appealfor more international help.

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