Ratnapura urban economy hit by Rs 1bn flood loss


Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen distributes flood relief assistance to affected Buddhist temples in Ratnapura on June 27 at Ratnapura DS Office.

Recent floods have inflicted heavy damages on Ratnapura’s urban economy-with initial estimates showing more than Rs one billion losses from its damaged industries, businesses and SMEs.

"Almost 1294 businesses and industries have been damaged" said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on June 27. Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the progress review meeting of his relief efforts for Ratnapura electorate. Ratnapura electorate’s relief and recovery efforts were led by Minister Bathiudeen who initially visited the area on June 3 and inspected the status. Minister Bathiudeen was appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena for relief action in Ratnapura Electorate in the aftermath of recent floods.

"I praise the government officials in Ratnapura for speedy action. The latest reports from the Divisional Secretariat, our IDB and NEDA show that almost 1294 businesses and industries have been damaged. The estimated loss (initial) is at Rs 1040 Million" said Minister Bathiudeen addressing the progress review meeting at Ratnapura DS offices, and added: "The total families affected in Ratnapura electorate has increased to 10752 (45963 persons) and total houses damaged in the electorate at 2616 of which 2551 are partly damaged. The Industrial Development Board (IDB) under me identified 264 small & medium industries in Ratnapura electorate as damaged and needing revival assistance -the estimated cost is Rs 162 million with a loss of livelihoods of 1000 people. Food and dry ration relief was given to the value of Rs 35 million. The Ratnapura DS Office says the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) under me identified 1034 small, medium & micro businesses as damaged and in need of assistance in Ratnapura electorate. Their loss claim is Rs 880 million which will be verified by officials."

According to officials of Ratnapura, the main reason for high losses from businesses is result of many brand new vehicles brought for sale (in showrooms and warehouses) going under water and unable to be re-sold. Another key item was the loss of grocery stocks in the shops.

During the recent floods, Ratnapura city was inundated unprecedentedly, and residents reported even surrounding lands too were submerged -by 5 to 8 ft water levels at many locations-destroying countless gem mines that the city is famous for and ruining many paddy fields. The most critical need of the victims and the Ratnapura city-that is the drinking water supply-has now been restored but prior to that 50000 litres of water bottles were distributed by the officials to the residents. Even the entire array of destroyed water wells (780) has been renovated. Rs 3.37 mn is to be distributed next as cash advance for 337 affected families for their urgent repairs (house and furniture). - Ministry of Industry and Commerce

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