SUVA, FIJI — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a $50 million emergency assistance loan to the Government of Fiji for short-term financing of disaster recovery reconstruction programs, including school rehabilitation and housing assistance. The loan will help ensure that these critical programs are adequately financed within fiscal constraints.

Tropical Cyclone Winston, the second-most powerful storm on record, struck Fiji on 20 February 2016. Forty-four people were killed and 62% of the population was adversely affected by the disaster.

“The Government of Fiji appreciates the ADB loan, which will allow us to be more responsive and build back damaged schools and homes better and stronger,” said Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Finance, Public Enterprises, and Public Service. “The new structures will be designed and built to resist the high winds and driving rain that characterize severe tropical storms like Winston. This is particularly important to protect poor and vulnerable households.”

“Cyclone Winston has ruined lives, livelihoods and infrastructure. The loan will help to mitigate the negative social and economic impacts of the cyclone on vulnerable people and households,” said Robert Jauncey, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Sub-regional Office in Fiji. “The cyclone damaged 495 schools, 88 health facilities, disrupted basic public services and destroyed crops and livelihoods.”

ADB is extending the $50 million emergency assistance loan from its ordinary capital resources. The loan will have a 20-year term, including a grace period of 5 years and a low interest rate of about 1.3% per year. The World Bank is also providing a loan of $50 million to support the programs.

Total damage and losses from Winston are estimated at  $1.42 billion—equivalent to 31% of gross domestic product. This is based on the post-disaster needs assessment jointly prepared by the government and development partners.

The full amount of the emergency assistance loan will be withdrawn in a single tranche once the loan takes effect.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.

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