ADB, Japan to Help Asia Cut Human, Economic Losses from Water Disasters

News Release | 29 April 2009

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are providing support for improved flood management in the region, in a bid to lower the rising human and economic costs of water-related disasters.

ADB's Board of Directors approved a US$2 million grant from the Japan Special Fund for regional technical assistance to support investments in water-related disaster management. The Fund is financed by the Government of Japan and administered by ADB.

Water-related disasters in the region have risen sharply over the past 50 years, killing an average of 63,000 people a year from 2001 to 2005, or over 90% of the world's total. Economic losses have also soared and the intensity of bad storms is expected to increase in future as a result of global warming. A growing number of people living in low-lying flood plains are especially vulnerable.

The regional assistance will introduce new approaches in flood management investment projects in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and in the lower Mekong river basin. It will include financial and advisory support for investments in areas such as flood hazard mapping with vulnerable communities, and for demonstration projects to improve flood forecasting through a regional, satellite-supported alert system. Workshops and training will be provided to exchange knowledge and to build up the skills of sector professionals and improve emergency response services.

The project supports ADB's 2006 to 2010 Water Financing Program, designed to reduce vulnerability to floods for over 100 million people in Asia and the Pacific and to introduce integrated water resource management in 25 river basins across the region. The Program is backed by the Water Financing Partnership Facility which ADB uses to mobilize cofinancing and knowledge from development partners.

"Working together to catalyze investments and pool the region's knowledge in flood management can raise the standard of living for poor and vulnerable people and increase water security for all," says Wouter Lincklaen Arriens, ADB's Lead Water Resources Specialist.

The project will support ADB's regional departments and clients and be coordinated by the Regional and Sustainable Development Department. The International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management based in Tsukuba, Japan will partner with ADB in project implementation and provide in-kind contributions.