, May 19 (PTI) The IMF, which is providing financial assistance to Sri Lanka in post-war rebuilding efforts, sent a high-level team of officials to Jaffna to discuss rehabilitation efforts and estimate the financial requirements needed for the crucial development.

Sri Lanka has so far received two tranches of the SBA loan totalling $658.8 million and discussions are on for the third instalment of $320 million.

The mission was led by Brian Aitken, Mission Chief for Sri Lanka of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department.

The team discussed with top government officials on the welfare of the IDPs, their livelihood development and infrastructure development of the resettled areas, an official release said today.

A team of officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) together with officials from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka met Northern Province Governor Maj General GA Chandrasiri here last week.

The IMF team, visiting Jaffna for the first time under the current USD 2.6 billion Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) facility, also met Jaffna Divisional Secretary S Ganesh.

They discussed the rehabilitation efforts and the governor forwarded the estimates of financial requirements that would be needed for the projects in the region.

According to a government official, out of around three lakh IDPS, around 2.5 lakh have left the welfare camp in the North to their place.

The battle between Sri Lankan security forces and the LTTE during the last phase of the ‘Eelam IV War’ had damaged about 2.6 lakh houses in the Tamil dominated North, according to a recent study.

“Government and humanitarian actors estimate that some 2,60,000 houses are in need of rebuilding and reconstruction,” the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in the study.

The World Bank through the North and East Rehabilitation Fund (NERF) has built 58,000 houses in the North and East so far and is in the process of addressing the housing needs of the war-displaced.

The government has said it hoped the rehabilitation process would be complete within the next six months.

Land mined areas continue to be a problem as there are still locations across northern Sri Lanka with significant explosive remnants of war.

The Red Cross said this is exposing returnees as well as the resident population to significant risks.

It says a large extent of land along the eastern coastal belt of Northern Province is also to be cleared of mines.

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