The U.S. Agency for International Development and the development agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece, HELLENIC AID, recently inaugurated the newly-rebuilt Anuradhapura Junction Public market in the northeastern Sri Lankan city of Trincomalee. Officials from the two donor agencies, which jointly funded the project, were joined at the event by Trincomalee District Government Agent, Major General T.T.R. DeSilva and Trincomalee Urban Council Chairman G. Mugunthan.
The joint seven-hundred-thousand dollar grant funded the rebuilding and expansion of the dilapidated market, one of the main markets in Trincomalee town. As the last component of the grant, People in Need, a Czech non-governmental organization, will now provide training to vendors and local authorities on market management and maintenance and hygiene promotion. “We hope that the rebuilding of this market will be a symbol of the revitalization of Trincomalee and serve as a foundation for renewed economic activity and social interaction in Trincomalee,” said USAID Mission Director, Rebecca Cohn. Ms. Cohn said the market is one of many investments the U.S. is making to help people in eastern Sri Lanka benefit from and contribute to the economic growth that Sri Lanka as a whole is experiencing.
USAID will be completing its more than one-hundred-thirty million dollar tsunami recovery efforts in Sri Lanka in 2008. This work includes the construction of a new bridge over Arugam Bay; a water supply system in Pottuvil; the upgrading of fishing harbors in Hikkaduwa, Mirissa, and Dondra; the construction of eighty-seven children’s playgrounds in tsunami-affected communities; and the construction and repair of schools, libraries and vocational training centers throughout the tsunami-affected zone.
Sri Lanka is one of a number South Asian countries the U.S. has helped to recover from the devastating effects of the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami. The U.S. has contributed more than eight-hundred-forty million dollars in assistance in recovery and relief aid. The American people also responded in great number. According to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, U.S. private tsunami aid donations, including both cash and in-kind donations, is more than three-billion dollars.
U.S. assistance has restarted over two-million-six-hundred-thousand businesses in the affected region. It has rebuilt more than eleven-thousand community buildings, provided economic restoration grants to more than one-million-seven-hundred thousand recipients, and trained over twenty-thousand communities in early warning and disaster preparedness.
The U.S. remains committed to help tsunami-affected communities make a full recovery.