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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 May, 2003, 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
Floods hit Sri Lankan industries
Sri Lankans crossing flood-damaged road
Many roads have been washed away
Flooding in southern Sri Lanka, which has killed hundreds of people, will hit mainstays of the economy after damaging tea, rice and rubber plantations.

Last week floods and landslides swept through low-lying areas of the south Asian island state killing 250.

But tourism officials have said the floods are not expected to cut the number of arrivals this year, which could set a new record.

Sri Lanka's economy has been experiencing a strong recovery since a ceasefire was signed last year between the government and the Tamil Tiger separatists in the north of the country.

The central bank has said it is reviewing the impact of the heaviest rains in half a century on the 5.5% economic growth forecast.

Rebuilding the economy

Niraj De Mel, the head of the Tea Association of Sri Lanka, told Reuters that output of low-grown tea, which makes up more than half the crop, could be cut by up to 30% in the coming months.

He added that industry damage to world's largest tea exported is not expected to be long term.

Officials have also said the latest sowing season for rice would be delayed and rubber sales could drop by half in the next few weeks because of the flooding.

Agriculture makes up about a fifth of the economy.

Minister of Power and Energy Karu Jayasuriya said that electricity supplies had been 95% restored to flood hit areas and that roads were being rebuilt.

"We're focusing on rebuilding roads to make sure the local economies do not fall apart," he said.

Last week he put the recovery costs at tens of millions of dollars.

Norway in Sri Lanka peace bid
26 May 03  |  South Asia
Sri Lanka counts cost of floods
23 May 03  |  South Asia

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