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Lanka needs USD 600 million for flood damage

Colombo: Sri Lanka needs at least USD 600 million for reconstruction efforts after the damage caused by two rounds of heavy flooding that killed 64 people and displace over one million people, amid a lukewarm response to a UN appeal for international aid.

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

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

An equal amount will have to come from the private individuals for reconstruction efforts from the unprecedented two rounds of heavy flooding that killed 64 people and displaced 1.2 million people.

A large number of those displaced were those who had only recently been resettled after decades of ethnic conflict between Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces that ended in May 2009.

Amaraweera said the loss of rice crop was estimated at another SLR 13 billion and expressed fears that the government may not be able to fully compensate farmers for their losses in January and February.

Meanwhile, a UN appeal for USD 51 million for immediate relief work has had a lukewarm response with only about a fifth of the money flowing in, official figures showed.

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

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