Colombo: The World Bank has approved a $310 million loan for Sri Lanka to reduce and mitigate the flood risks in parts of the capital and improve weather forecasting as well as early warning systems across the island country, the media reported on Thursday.

The World Bank said in a statement that the Climate Resilience Multi-Phase Programmatic Approach project in the island was the first of a three-phase investment programme totalling $774 million which will be implemented over eight years.

Evidence suggests flood frequency will increase and nearly 87 per cent of Sri Lankans are living in areas which are likely to experience extreme temperatures and rainfall that will impact their lives, the statement cited by Xinhua news agency said.

“This comprehensive climate resilience programme will reduce losses to people’s livelihoods and public assets while reducing shocks on the economy,” said Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank County Director for Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

“Compelling evidence has informed this long-term programme which will help the government build socially responsive infrastructure and communication systems to protect lives and assets,” she added.

The programme aligns with the government’s plans to ensure fiscal and physical resilience and reduce the vulnerability of Sri Lanka’s economy in the aftermath of the 2016 and 2017 floods.

The new forecasting systems are expected to benefit the entire nation, including 3.5 million beneficiaries living in flood-prone areas in 25 river basins.