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* Drought affects 16 districts of Sri Lanka, government to compensate farmers
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 09:30 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 25, Colombo: As prevailing drought continues to affect people in Sri Lanka farmland, the government has decided to continue to provide compensations to the affected people.

Dry Weather Sri Lanka has been experiencing in most of the country since the beginning of 2016 has affected people in 16 districts while a vast area of agricultural lands has been destroyed.

According to the Disaster Management Center, as of 21 February 899,235 people of 228,906 families from 103 Divisional Secretariat Divisions in 16 Districts including Trincomalee, Kalutara, Gampaha, Hambantota, Monaragala, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Kandy, and Matale have been affected by the prevailing dry weather.

Minister of Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says the extent of land destroyed by the drought is being assessed at the Divisional Secretariat level, and the government has decided to continuously provide compensations to the owners of those agricultural lands for four months from March.

President Maithripala Sirisena last week instructed the relevant officials to take necessary measures to provide an allowance of Rs.10,000 per month each for all the drought-affected farming families in the island.

Accordingly, Rs. 10,000 will be granted for a destroyed acre of paddy field while other crop plantations are also compensated, the Agricultural and Agrarian Insurance Board said.

Ministry of Finance has already allocated Rs. 50 million to provide required drinking water for the people in those districts.

The Government through the District Secretaries has already spent Rs. 32 million for drinking water, clearing the sources, fuel for bowsers, over time payments for bowser drivers and assistants and for administrative expenditures. In addition, 2,370 of the 1,000L water tanks have also been distributed and 3,000 more tanks have been ordered, the Minister further said.

The current drought is forecast to have a devastating impact on rice production. Even if rainfall is received in the early months of the year, Sri Lanka's agricultural sector is unlikely to make a full recovery in 2017, ACAPS said in a recent report.

The drought has impacted on the power sector also as water levels in reservoirs that generate hydropower have dropped to 31 percent of capacity.


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