Cash grants and microfinance in livelihood recovery: experiences from tsunami-affected areas of Sri Lanka

Working and discussion papers
March 2006
M. M. M. Aheeyar
The devastating tsunami that hit Sri Lanka on 26 December 2004 killed over 35,000 people, making it the worst natural disaster in the country’s recorded history. Over 200,000 people were estimated to have lost their livelihoods, half of them in the fishing sector. It has been estimated that around 75% of the fishing fleet was destroyed. The agricultural sector lost 23,449 acres of cultivated land due to seawater intrusion. Hotels, guesthouses and tourism businesses were all damaged (GOSL, 2005). The value of the physical assets lost has been estimated at $900 million. The value of output losses for 2005 and 2006 is around $330 million (World Bank, ADB and JBIC, 2005). Affected areas are spread over 13 of the island’s 25 administrative districts. Overall, the north-east was most affected. In the south, the districts of Hambantota, Matara and Galle were severely damaged.

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