Over Rs.1.4 b spent for disaster relief this year

Over Rs.1.4 billion was spent to provide relief to the victims of natural and manmade disasters that occurred this year, the Disaster Management Ministry said in its progress report for 2016.

The floods and landslides occurred in May and huge explosion at the Salawa Army Camp at Kosgama in June were the worst disasters the country faced this year together with the prolonged drought which also had a severe impact.

According to a post disaster assessment carried out by the Government, the losses and damages caused by floods and landslides in May amounts to a total of Rs.105 billion.

Assessment was carried out by the Disaster Management Ministry and National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry with financial and technical co-operation of the United Nations, World Bank and the European Union.

Heavy rainfall that occurred in May with the onset of the South West Monsoon caused floods and landslides displacing about 588,000 people belonging to 147,000 families. Those claimed 56 lives while another 99 persons were missing due to major landslides in Aranayake and Bulathkohupitiya areas.

The assessment covered all relevant sectors including housing,lands and settlement, health and nutrition, education, food security, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, industry and commerce, irrigation, water and sanitation, transport and power supply.

Losses amounting to Rs.18 billion and damages amounting to Rs.87 billion had been calculated as of the assessment results. The private Sector incurred a loss of Rs.95 billion and the public sector incurred a loss of Rs.10 billion.

A recovery strategy which spans for four years has been proposed to recover the aforesaid losses and damages and that estimate amounts to Rs.139 billion.

According to the progress report, 46 fire incidents in towns and 211 forest fire incidents were reported in the country from January to September.The number of drought victims during the above mentioned period was about 542,000.

The progress report also revealed that both the Meteorology Department and Disaster Management Centre have failed to utilise a significant amount of their annual allocations this year.

The Treasury had provided allocations of Rs. 978 million to the DMC for 2016, but only Rs. 350 million had been spent as at September 30. The Met Department was allocated Rs.324 million, but it had not spent Rs.110 million of this amount as of September 30. 

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