Business Times

World Bank implements Emergency Recovery Project for North

The World Bank (WB) is funding a US$77 million emergency recovery project in the northern province, a fraction of the Sri Lankan government's reconstruction plan that may cost more than US$2 billion, according to WB Country Director for Sri Lanka Naoko Ishii.

The government requested immediate assistance from the WB in July 2009, resulting in the Emergency Northern Recovery Project (ENREP) to rapidly return internally displaced people (IDPs) to their place of origin and will cover approximately 110,000 households. WB projects are usually designed in consultation with the affected communities but in the case of ENREP which is an emergency project, WB Senior Infrastructure Specialist Amali Rajapaksa said the IDPs could not be accessed. However, she said such projects can be restructured once implementation begins.

WB Country Director for Sri Lanka Naoko Ishii said the needs in the North are enormous.
At a press conference this week, Ms. Ishii said the challenges of reconciliation and reconstruction are daunting. "The approval of this response package by the WB's Board of Directors demonstrates that development partners recognize the challenges that the country is facing and want to help." The credits from the International Development Association (IDA), the WB's concessionary lending arm, have 20 years to maturity with a 10 year grace period.

WB Senior Rural Development Specialist Nihal Fernando said ENREP will be implemented in tandem with the already established Reawakening Project. The ENREP project components include emergency assistance to IDPs in the form of funding for mobile land resolution task forces, mine awareness campaigns, clearance of over-grown paddy fields and providing fishing and farming equipment.

There is also a work-fare component which provides funding for 50 days minimum guaranteed work for once person per household and a component for rehabilitation and reconstruction of essential infrastructure. The WB will also support the rehabilitation of 350 kilometers of provincial roads in the Northern, Eastern and southern Uva provinces through a US$105 million credit for a Provincial Roads Project, expected to be completed by 2015.

Around US$50 million has been earmarked for the rehabilitation of 150 kilometers in the Uva Province while US$20 million each has been earmarked for the rehabilitation of 100 kilometers in the Ampara District and 100 kilometers in the Jaffna District.

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