The results of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) work, in the Northern and Eastern Provinces was the rapid increase in economic activity, with these Provinces growing at twice the rate of other Provinces, the ADB states in a recent report.
‘This is due in part to the two phases of the North-East Community Restoration and Development Project, which has helped build and rehabilitate basic infrastructure and services needed for a fresh start,’ the Bank said.
The project has restored crucial irrigation pumps, built a new dam, and refurbished agrarian outreach centres to supply farmers with essentials such as seeds and fertilizer. The projects brought health services, education facilities, shelter, water, sanitation, and electricity to tens of thousands of people in the conflict-affected area, said the ADB.
The reconstruction work provided much-needed employment for many residents. In the hard-hit District of Mullaitivu, the ADB-supported, Conflict-Affected Region Emergency Project, is helping to improve roads and provide access to a reliable power supply. It has also restored irrigation systems so that farmers who return to work the land can earn more.
Tharmalingam Vasanthiradevi (64), a widow who farms three acres of rice paddies, can remember when artillery shells would land on her property. Fighting that raged around her farm, and sometimes spilled onto the farm itself, forced her to flee with her family in 2008. Amid the chaos, the family abandoned their farm and their belongings, leaving with nothing more than what they could carry. After two years, when it was safe to return to the farm, the family had lost nearly everything and had to start from scratch.
The Government assisted the family with fertilizer and farming equipment to begin planting again. To support farmers in the area, the ADB financed the improvement of an irrigation canal. The canal that was previously leaky and unreliable was lined with concrete and now allowed water from a nearby reservoir to flow easily and reliably to the farms. “We can get water more easily now and cultivate more,” says Vasanthiradevi. “It is still difficult to farm due to droughts and flood, but the irrigation canal has made work easier,” she said.