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U.S. Helps Sri Lankan Fishing

The United States Agency for International Development has completed the first of its large-scale tsunami reconstruction activities in Sri Lanka – the revitalization of Hikkaduwa fishing harbor. The harbor provides jobs for four-thousand families in this area, hit hard by the December 2004 tsunami.

The project is a key element of USAID’s Sri Lanka Tsunami Reconstruction Program and was developed in partnership with the Ceylon Fishery Harbors Corporation under the aegis of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The fishing industry is important to the economy of Hikkaduwa and all of southern Sri Lanka. The completed reconstruction considerably increases the capacity of Hiddaduwa fishing harbor. Access into and within the harbor will also be easier for fishermen to navigate now that twenty-eight-thousand cubic meters of sand have been removed from the harbor basin. Renovated and extended breakwaters now protect boats inside the harbor from potentially damaging wave action. The auction hall has also been renovated, and water and sanitation facilities have been enhanced to improve the working conditions for fishermen.

“With this newly-rebuilt harbor, USAID has helped improve the livelihoods of area fishermen and thereby strengthen the Sri Lankan fishing industry,” said USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn at ceremonies marking the project’s completion. “USAID has also introduced new skill sets to the workforce and worked closely with the Hikkaduwa community to grow their economies and recover from the devastating tsunami,” she said.

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 [ah-ROO-gahm] Bay; a water supply system in Pottuvil; the upgrading of fishing harbors in 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.

The U.S. remains committed to help tsunami-affected communities in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the region make a full recovery.