Funding Disaster Relief in Asia and the Pacific

Feature | 27 November 2013

ADB's Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund is designed to quickly disburse assistance to member countries impacted by a major natural disaster.

The APDRF is a special fund designed to provide quick-disbursing grants to ADB's member countries impacted by a major natural disaster.

Since 2009, ADB has extended immediate assistance to 10 developing member countries through the APDRF, in aid of relief in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana in the Philippines, earthquakes in Samoa and Indonesia in 2009, Mongolia's dreaded snowy winter in 2010, and flood disasters in Fiji, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand in 2011.

Recently, ADB used the APDRF to provide $3 million for emergency assistance to help Cambodia recover from devastating floods which have affected 1.7 million people, causing an estimated $1 billion in damage. ADB also approved two consecutive grants of $100,000 and $200,000 each from the APDRF for drought disaster response in the Marshall Islands.

72 Hours from Help

The APDRF is designed to help bridge the gap between existing ADB arrangements that assist member countries to reduce disaster risk through disaster risk management loans and grants, and longer-term post-disaster reconstruction lending.

The APDRF is granted when a natural disaster hits a member country and an emergency is officially declared that is of a scale beyond the capacity of the country and its own agencies to meet the immediate expenses necessary to restore life-saving services to the affected population. The United Nations humanitarian coordinator is also required to confirm the scale and implications of the disaster and indicate a general amount of funding that would be required to assist in alleviating the situation. Once these three conditions are met, the grant can be processed and disbursed within 72 hours.

"So long as the equipment to be purchased or the services to be procured are life-saving and are adequately justified by the government, then these are considered eligible expenses under the APDRF."

-- Mary Jane V. David, ADB Senior Public Management Officer

Supported activities

The fund may be used to support the restoration of life-saving services, including the provision of medical kits, food, bottled drinking water, transitional shelters, emergency communication equipment, debris sifting, and more.

"So long as the equipment to be purchased or the services to be procured are life-saving and are adequately justified by the government, then these are considered eligible expenses under the APDRF," said Mary Jane V. David, Senior Public Management Officer at ADB.

Using the APDRF properly

Naturally, governments are required to use the grant appropriately, and are guided through the process of doing so. For example, the fund implementing guidelines require the recipient to confirm the use of the grant through a statement of expenditure. This means that underlying documentation, such as contracts, invoices, and receipts, must be retained, as ADB reserves the right to review them.

"Within 6 months of receipt of a statement of expenditure by ADB, the supreme audit institution of the recipient, or another audit firm acceptable to ADB, should provide an audit report on the use of the grant, including the imprest account and the statement of expenditures," explains David.

ADB funded the APDRF with an initial contribution of $40 million transferred from the Asian Tsunami Fund, which was established to respond to the special circumstances surrounding the developing member countries that were stricken by the effects of the December 2004 tsunami.