The World Bank has approved a $40 million grant to Sri Lanka, as funding for a project intended to provide that country’s citizens with improved access to drinking water and sanitation.

The project will get underway in the north-east of the country, an area which has been severely affected by conflict with rebel groupings over the past 20 years.

The World Bank estimates that only about 40% of people in villages and small towns in Sri Lanka have access to safe water sources, but says this figure worsens in the war-torn regions. The project is expected to cost R62 million in total, and the Sri Lankan government will provide the balance of the money.