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World Bank Provides US$247 million in Cyclone and Floods Assistance to Bangladesh

Press Release No:2008/187/SAR

Contacts:

In Dhaka:  S.M.Rezwan-ul-Alam  (880-2) 8159001 Ext. 4242

salam3@worldbank.org

In Washington: Erik Nora (202) 458 4735

enora@worldbank.org

 

WASHINGTON, January 10, 2008 — The World Bank today approved IDA financing totaling US$247 million to help Bangladesh recover from the dual shocks of the August flooding and November cyclone, which caused significant loss of life and enormous social, human, and economic costs. Of this total, US$170 million takes the form of additional credits, and US$52 million consists of reallocation of funds within ongoing projects toward flood restoration. Another US$25 million is being made available for cyclone recovery through existing projects.

 

Praful Patel, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia region, who recently visited the cyclone affected areas, said the Bank’s support is designed to help the country cope with the strain on the economy and the immediate relief needs of nearly nine million cyclone victims.

 

“Having witnessed the cyclone devastation first hand, the challenges are enormous to rebuild lives, and restore incomes, and livelihoods,” said Patel. “Emergency spending is critical to address short-term needs of those affected by the cyclone — through programs such as cash or food assistance to households, grants and loans to help rebuild damaged homesteads and replace lost assets, and rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure.”

 

Patel said the Bank’s longer term focus is on disaster prevention and management. “Adaptation interventions are critical for Bangladesh in particular where climate change is projected to increase the intensity and frequency of natural disasters.” 

 

The second Supplemental Financing of US$100 million to the Fourth Development Support Credit will allow the Government to undertake emergency spending without foregoing planned critical development expenditures.  It will also enable it to remain on track in implementing its policy and institutional reform agenda. Another US$25 million is being reallocated within ongoing projects for medicine, power and clean water supply infrastructure.

 

Additional financing of US$70 million will be used to support the Emergency 2007 Flood Restoration and Recovery Assistance Program in Bangladesh. The floods directly affected over 13 million people in 46 districts, caused over 1,000 deaths, affected over 2 million acres of agricultural land, and damaged infrastructure, social and educational facilities and private assets, including housing, crops, livestock, and fisheries.

 

“Our estimates indicate that the total impact of the floods was about US$1.4 billion, constituting about 2 percent of GDP,” said Xian Zhu, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. . “This assistance will help Bangladesh rebuild houses, transport infrastructure, crops, fisheries, livestock, schools and education centers, and individual and community water and sanitation facilities.”

 

This floods support package is designed to ensure speedy recovery and reconstruction through additional financing to three existing Bank projects ─ Municipal Services Project (US$25 million), Rural Transport Improvement (US$20 million), and Social Investment Program (US$25 million provided as grant). It will rehabilitate infrastructure, including flood protection embankments, urban and rural roads and bridges, primary and secondary schools, municipal infrastructure, and flood proofing of all rehabilitation. It also aims to restore livelihoods for the affected poor through micro credit, emergency assistance funds, community infrastructure activities, skills development, and income generating activities.

 

The credits from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary arm, have 40 years to maturity, including a 10-year grace period; it carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.

 

For more information on the World Bank in Bangladesh, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/bd

 

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