Sri Lanka could be facing economic losses in the range of around LKR30 billion (US$197 million) based on preliminary estimates of the costs of last week's floods and landslides.
The economic loss would be from all sectors including plantations and agriculture, a senior government official said, adding that this was an unofficial assessment as the relevant state authorities have not made any assessment yet, reported Sunday Times in Sri Lanka.
Other official sources said that at least LKR15 billion is needed to pay for rebuilding damaged houses and buildings.
Last week’s high intensity rains has left more than 200 dead, dozens missing, 630,000 people affected, 1,508 houses fully damaged and 7,617 houses partially destroyed in 15 districts.
Large scale business enterprises and factories were not much affected but small businesses like shops and studios in commercial areas have been disrupted, The Chairman of the National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) Manjula de Silva told the Business Times that the total loss caused to large, small and medium scale businesses is still to be assessed by the relevant authorities.
However, he noted that according to rough estimates, there may be around 500 SMEs affected by the disaster and the loss would be around LKR250 million.
The NITF is prepared to pay claims for damages once the correct method is adopted after completing the assessment of losses, he disclosed. “We have to ascertain the damage. Once we get all the particulars we will start paying the flood and land victims,” he said.
The national natural disaster and emergency relief insurance cover was introduced last year for natural disasters covering the whole country, and payment of claims have been expanded to include a range of accidents due to such disasters, he revealed.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena blamed the lack of prevention measures for the floods in the country's worst torrential rains since 2003. The government pledged last week to tighten construction laws, saying many landslide victims would have survived had their homes not been built on slopes. Monsoon rains last year also caused flooding and landslides, killing more than 100 people.