From July to September 1998, floods of unprecedented extent and intensity inundated Bangladesh. The floods caused grave human suffering, greatly disrupted normal life and activity, and seriously damaged infrastructure.
In response to the Government's request for rehabilitation assistance, ADB approved the Flood Damage Rehabilitation Project to help rehabilitate key infrastructure damaged by the floods, thereby enabling the restoration of normal levels of economic and social activity. The Project followed ADB's policy, drafted in 1995, on rehabilitation assistance after disasters.
Summary of findings
The overall project rating was lowered from "highly successful" at the project completion report stage to "successful" at evaluation stage to reflect issues of efficiency and sustainability. The Project was rated relevant, highly effective, efficient, and less likely to be sustainable.
While the roads rehabilitated were found to be useful immediately after rehabilitation, they were inadequately maintained, causing several sections to fall into disrepair. The flood control and irrigation facilities were found to be in fair condition although the "patch and mend" approach to rehabilitating them could be altered. Several sections of the rural roads were found to be in poor condition, although the overall quality of roads was better because of low traffic levels combined with lighter vehicles plying the road.
The rehabilitation of sections of the railway network had several procurement and implementation problems owing to the Bangladesh Railway's cumbersome procedures. Although the outputs of the completed contracts were satisfactory, a few contracts were terminated because of delays. Lack of maintenance has been a serious issue for this part.
Subprojects relating to slum rehabilitation were difficult to locate owing to the Dhaka City Corporation's inadequate records. However, subprojects relating to urban roads rehabilitated by the Local Government Engineering Department were found to be useful immediately after completion, although they were not adequately maintained by the municipal authority that took over their operation and maintenance.
The repair of school buildings and provision of furniture included several subprojects that did not satisfy project criteria. The operations evaluation mission observed that some of these buildings were damaged and in need of urgent repairs.
- The large number of civil works packages typical for emergency assistance projects creates severe management challenges.
- Corruption has been a major issue, although the Government has been trying to control it.
- Community participation is notably absent from emergency assistance projects despite it being highlighted as an important lesson from previous loans.
- ADB could improve its response time by adopting standardized measures to reduce the time to process emergency loans.
- Large contract packages need to be awarded under future projects.
- Future ADB projects need to establish more realistic implementation schedules.
- The early involvement of the Bangladesh Resident Mission in project administration was effective and should be continued.
- Loan covenants requiring borrowers to insure many scattered project facilities are not practical.
- The short-term recovery phase needs to be linked to the long-term reconstruction phase to ensure that the projects are sustainable; where necessary, the long-term phase should involve upgrading infrastructure to make it sustainable.
- ADB, in conjunction with the Government, could rethink the approach to focus on key infrastructure sectors, such as transport and water, which are more capital intensive, to ensure that these projects are more effective.
- The Bangladesh Railway should maintain its tracks more effectively to avoid accidents.
- ADB should develop a specific flood rehabilitation work plan for Bangladesh to respond more quickly to such disasters as they are likely to recur,
- The Government should be encouraged to set up the road maintenance fund to solve the problems of routine and periodic maintenance of all roads.
- ADB needs to initiate policy dialogue with the Government for completing the above actions.
- Executive Summary
- Design and Implementation
- Performance Assessment
- Other Assessments
- Issues, Lessons, and Follow-up Actions