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Transport links priority for tsunami-hit regions

News

RESTORING TRANSPORT links is the top priority for reconstruction teams working in the tsunami-battered Aceh province of Indonesia, development banks said this week.

A joint needs assessment carried out by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Japanese Bank for International Co-operation has put the cost of damage to Indonesia at £2.5bn.

Key transport links between major settlements should be priorities for the rebuilding programme, which is likely to take up to six years, the assessment concludes.

A similar needs assessment for Sri Lanka is expected to be published by the end of the week.

The Sri Lankan government has already stated its reconstruction priorities and is keen to start work (News last week).

But this effort could be undermined by shortages of skills, plant and materials, consultant Atkins has warned.

The rm is writing to Sri Lanka's reconstruction task force this week, warning of shortfalls unless action is taken now to improve stocks of basic construction materials.

'It is all right to have the money, but the bricklayer has got to have the bricks, ' says Atkins Colombo office manager Andy Hayden.

'There is going to be a massive demand for sand and crushed rock. If the funds are in place the government should start opening up quarries now and getting donors to fund crushers and batching plants.' Atkins is also advising the government to consider bringing in international contractors with the fi nancial muscle to find the resources they need.

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