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Japan, ADB to Help Vanuatu Rebuild Schools After Cyclone Pam

News from Country Offices | 20 November 2015

PORT VILA, VANUATU – Japan is providing a $5 million grant, administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), to support the Government of Vanuatu’s school rebuilding drive in the wake of Cyclone Pam.  ADB and the Government of Vanuatu signed the grant agreement at a ceremony today in Port Vila.

Andrea Iffland, Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office in Australia, together with Toara Daniel Kalo, Acting Minister for Finance and Economic Management from the Government of Vanuatu, and Itsubo Toyoaki, Japan International Cooperation Agency Resident Representative, participated in the signing ceremony.

The Cyclone Pam School Reconstruction Project will rebuild junior secondary schools in Tafea Province, making them more resilient to future disasters and climate change risks. The Category 5 cyclone tore through the Pacific on the evening of 13 March, with sustained winds of up to 250 kilometers per hour, causing 11 deaths and widespread damage, primarily in Vanuatu.

“The schools will be built back better to achieve a safer, clean learning environment for students,” said Ms. Iffland. “The project will also include the construction of community shelters to provide a safe place during emergencies, and will provide training to communities in disaster risk management.”

At least five junior secondary schools, which suffered varying degrees of damage in the cyclone, will be rebuilt and upgraded, with facilities such as water tanks for rainwater storage, emergency power back-up, communications facilities, and essential supplies that can be accessed immediately in the event of a disaster. Communities will be consulted throughout the design process to ensure ownership and agreement on the proposed upgrades. Once the work is complete, the schools will be able to accommodate about 1,200 children.

The grant comes from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, a financing facility provided by the Government of Japan.

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, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including co-financing of $9.2 billion.