World Bank lends 182 million to Sri Lanka for Tamil region

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WASHINGTON, Dec 17, 2009 (AFP) - The World Bank Thursday announced a 182-million-dollar loan to help Sri Lanka assist refugees and rebuild Tamil majority provinces that were ravaged by nearly 40 years of civil war that ended earlier this year.

One loan package for 105 million dollars will go to rebuild major roads linking north and east Sri Lanka, the bank said in a statement.

Another tranche for 77 million dollars is "designed to support the return of 100,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their places of origin in the Northern Province and to restore their livelihoods destroyed by three decades of civil war."

This second loan includes a 65-million-dollar project to "restore village-level infrastructure and war-damaged rural access roads, drinking water, irrigation facilities, and public office buildings."

The other 12 million dollars will be for "the ongoing community-based Reawakening Project," which has already benefited close to 200,000 of "the most vulnerable returning IDPs, including women-headed households, youth and ex-combatants, as well as disabled and landless people," the World Bank said.

Sri Lankan government forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels in May, after wiping out the leadership of the once-powerful movement, which began its armed struggle for an independent Tamil homeland in 1972.

The civil war killed an estimated 80,000-100,000 people.

Source: AFP

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