Lao PDR: Additional Funding Approved for Disaster Recovery

(KPL) The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved on Dec 13 US$50 million of additional financing for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management Project and the Lao Road Sector Project II.

The additional funding will help reduce the financing gap for reconstruction following widespread floods in 2018, prioritizing investments in flood risk management and the road sector, which accounted for 75% of the total estimated damages and losses.

One half of the financing will support the ongoing Lao PDR Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management Project to reduce the impact of flooding in target areas and enhance the government’s capacity to provide hydro-meteorological services and disaster response.

This will help restore riverbank protection, embankments, and canal improvements, as well as promote risk-informed planning and disaster preparedness in the three flood risk-prone provinces of Oudomxay, Luang Prabang and Borikhamxay.

The other half of the financing will support the ongoing the Lao Road Sector Project II to repair damaged roads including sections of National Road 13 South, and improve the climate resilience of road infrastructure. The improvements include improved road designs, such as raising road alignment in areas prone to flooding, improving drainage systems, and applying bio-engineering solutions to protect road slope from land and mud-slides.

In 2018, the Lao PDR suffered its most costly floods in a decade, which had a significant adverse impact on people’s lives and the economy of the Lao PDR, said Nicola Pontara, World Bank Country Manager for Lao PDR. This additional funding is geared at building climate-resilient infrastructure, including roads and riverbank protection, which will help protect people and assets in provinces where the risk of flooding is highest.

Two tropical cyclones and a breached saddle dam in Attapeu Province resulted in extensive flooding between July and September 2018, impacting most parts of the country.

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment estimated total damages of US$371.5 million, equivalent to 2.1 % of the country’s projected 2018 GDP, and 10.2 % of the Lao PDR’s annual budget in 2018.

Recovery needs were estimated at US$520 million, with highest impacts identified in the transport, agriculture, and waterways sectors.

The World Bank’s IDA, established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

Global evidence shows that the poor tend to bear the brunt of natural hazards as they are often the least prepared and have limited financial capacity to cope.

Source: Lao News Agency