ADB President Offers Assistance to Quake Hit Countries of South Asia

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda today expressed his deep sympathy to the South Asian countries most affected by the devastating earthquake that struck on Saturday morning and said his organization stands ready to offer assistance, including $10 million in immediate funds for the worst affected areas of Pakistan.

The $10 million would be reallocated from ongoing projects for immediate emergency assistance for rehabilitation work in areas and districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and North West Frontier Province, Pakistan. ADB could significantly increase its assistance, depending on detailed assessments of the damage caused by the earthquakes, Mr. Kuroda said.

"Following the earthquake that devastated parts of Afghanistan, India and Pakistan on Saturday, our deepest sympathies go to the victims and their families, as well as the people and governments of the affected countries," he said in a statement. "We at ADB are in touch with authorities and stand ready to offer assistance if required."

ADB is closely monitoring the situation across the affected countries and teams from its country resident missions are already in close coordination with government officials and humanitarian teams to assess needs and make plans to assist.

Peter Fedon, ADB's Country Director in Pakistan, said ADB project teams already in place for existing projects in the hardest hit districts will be immediately mobilized to carry out rehabilitation and reconstruction work.

Priority areas to be covered under ADB's earthquake assistance in Pakistan will include rehabilitation of affected school buildings and rural health centers, roads and bridges, and water supply and electricity infrastructure in rural areas.

In consultation with the Government authorities, ADB will dispatch a needs assessment mission to earthquake affected areas. Subsequent ADB assistance would be linked to and complement other humanitarian relief efforts.

ADB can draw upon extensive experience in emergency rehabilitation assistance following natural disasters. ADB took part in the joint needs assessments in the countries most affected by the tsunami disaster and quickly approved more than $835 million in assistance. In recent years, ADB also provided assistance to Gujarat, India, in the immediate wake of a devastating earthquake in 2001, and earlier last year, flood relief work in Bangladesh.