AbaY bridge funded by USAID

Washington D.C. 31 December (Asiantribune.com): The United States government has provided $134.6 million in 2005 in assistance to communities in Sri Lanka for relief and reconstruction efforts, economic assistance to restore livelihood, toward infrastructure projects and technical assistance to mitigate the effects of the tsunami devastation, it was announced here by AmericaA?a??a??s official overseas economic assistance arm the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

While noting that U.S. assistance program in Sri Lanka have addressed a broad range of needs, USAID said that it has funded cash-for-work programs, on-the-job training and small loans which the agency noted that more than 43,630 people have received assistance through economic restoration projects and 17,500 have benefited from small business and livelihood grants.

According to estimates from the Asian Development Bank, Sri Lanka suffered $1 billion in overall damage and losses equivalent to 4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) due to December 2004 tsunami. USAID has helped Sri Lanka participate in trade shows and mount advertising campaigns in Europe to help revitalize tourism, an important segment of the economy.

A USAID project has replaced a damaged bridge at the mouth of Arugam Bay in eastern Sri Lanka. This bridge is considered critical to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the eastern coastal communities, which are dependent on tourism and have been underdeveloped due to the prolonged conflict in this island nation.

New projects under way also include rehabilitating community markets and roads and restoring access to drinking water. According to USAID, 187,870 people have received sanitation supplies and more than 220,000 have benefited from water projects. In carrying out these projects, USAID says it has brought people together from diverse ethnic communities to work cooperatively for the common good of the country.

In the deep south Matara district, USAID has provided more than 1,200 small entrepreneurs, farmers and fishermen with technical assistance, working capital, materials and equipment for enterprises in textile production, fish processing, yam cultivation and other cottage industries.

The United StatesA?a??a?? overseas economic assistance agency, USAID, recently began a partnership with Geneva Global Foundation, a non governmental organization (NGO), to provide $3 million in funding for at least 65 social and local development projects. The projects will focus on aid to vulnerable families, youth and children, improving health and combating human trafficking and domestic abuse.

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