ADB Approves Grant to Help Nepal Recover from Monsoon Floods

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - A US$25.6 million grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help restore economic activity to parts of Nepal devastated by last year's monsoon floods.

More than 300,000 people living in the eastern and far western region of the country were seriously affected by the August floods, and the landslides that followed. Flood damage to infrastructure and livelihoods amounted to an estimated $88 million, and thousands of people, mostly the poor, were displaced.

The government, supported by the UN and non-government organizations, responded effectively in the initial phase. However, thousands remained displaced and the extent of the damage has prompted the need for further assistance.

The ADB Board of Directors today approved the grant to fund the Emergency Flood Damage Rehabilitation Project, which was based on a joint assessment carried out by the ADB and UN agencies, and the government's preliminary estimate of flood damage.

The project aims to return economic activity to normal as soon as possible in the affected areas, and also to help reduce future risk from similar disasters.

"The floods slowed progress in poverty reduction, with the poor and the vulnerable suffering most in terms of losses," says Ki H. Ryu, ADB's Project Team Leader. "This project will help improve the livelihoods of many of those affected."

The project will focus on the western districts of Kailali and Kanchanur, and the district of Sunsari in the far east.

Key infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and irrigation channels, will be built or repaired, and landslide stabilization work undertaken to avoid similar disasters in the future.

Water supply systems will also be rebuilt or installed to provide access to drinking water and sanitation facilities. A health and hygiene awareness program will be instigated in all three districts.

In addition, seeds and compost and basic farm equipment will be distributed to grow crops suitable for sandy soil. Fishponds will also be rehabilitated, fingerlings distributed, and agricultural collection centers and marketplaces reconstructed.

ADB will source the grant from its Special Funds resources to cover the bulk of the $32 million project cost. The balance will come from the Government of Nepal. The Ministry of Physical Planning and Works will be the project's executing agency.