MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing a $40 million emergency assistance grant to assist with the reconstruction of irrigation and rural road infrastructure at 15 provinces in northern Afghanistan that suffered heavy damage from severe flooding earlier this year.
“The extensive losses to rural infrastructure caused by the floods harmed the livelihoods of thousands of people,” said Hans Siewert Woldring, ADB Senior Water Resources Specialist. “The restoration of irrigated agriculture and access to market will help improve community welfare in flood-affected project areas.”
During April to early June this year, heavy rains in many parts of northern Afghanistan triggered severe flash floods that caused widespread destruction and loss of life. The flooding, regarded locally as the worst for at least a generation, affected 125,000 people in 27 provinces.
ADB put the damage cost in four provinces alone, based on multi-agency consultations, at around $240 million, with 70% of losses due to damage to housing and agricultural infrastructure, crops, and livestock.
The project will help communities and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, and Ministry of Energy and Water to repair damaged irrigation infrastructure, and to protect land from further flood-related erosion by erecting retaining walls as required, enabling irrigated land to be returned to full production as soon as possible. The rehabilitation of roads and bridges will allow rural connectivity to be restored.
As part of the emergency support, ADB will also administer $16.6 million of grant cofinancing from the Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund (AITF). The Ministry of Finance will be the executing agency for this project.
Afghanistan is a founding member of ADB. As of 31 December 2013, ADB cumulative lending to Afghanistan reached $952.3 million. ADB's overall assistance is fully aligned with the government’s priorities in the infrastructure sectors - transport, energy, and natural resources - as well as economic management. ADB is taking a leading role through the Central Asia Regional Economic Corporation (CAREC) Program to connect Afghanistan with its immediate neighbors.