September 20, 2017

Myanmar enhances resilience to natural disasters with $184m

Workers construct a bailey bridge yesterday on Yangon-Ann-Sittway Union Road in An, Rakhine State after floods caused by recent torrential rain washed away the bridge. Traffic returned to normal yesterday after completion of the 200-ft long bailey bridge. Photo: MNA

A new project financed by the World Bank aims to strengthen Myanmar’s capacity to respond to natural disasters and will also strengthen the aging infrastructure in Yangon.
Disasters cost the country over US$184 million annually and disproportionally hurt the poor.
The Myanmar Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management Project, approved yesterday by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, will contribute US$116 million in financing towards efforts to reduce the impact of flooding, improve the resilience of selected public facilities against earthquakes in Yangon, and enhance the union government’s capacity to finance disaster response to emergencies across the country.
“As Yangon is rapidly developing, the growing urban population has placed the city’s infrastructure under strain”, said Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein.
“Yangon faces high flood risks and is located in an earthquake-prone area. The project investments in the city’s drainage system, public facilities, and critical infrastructure will help achieve our aim of delivering high quality public infrastructure and services in the city”. The project is co-funded with a grant of US$1 million from the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (SEADRIF), a multi-donor trust fund.
It will help the Ministry of Planning and Finance to develop disaster risk financing instruments, mainstream resilience into public investment planning, reduce the financial costs of future disasters, and improve the capacity to manage and finance the response to possible future disasters.
“Disaster risk management is critical to reducing poverty. When food prices peak due to disasters, and assets are lost, the poor and vulnerable feel the most pressure”, said Abdoulaye Seck, the World Bank Country Manager for Myanmar. “The World Bank looks forward to supporting Myanmar’s efforts in reducing human, economic and financial losses caused by natural disasters, in order for the country to protect its development gains”.
The loan is payable in 38 years, with no interest and with a six-year grace period. But the bank will impose service charges amounting to 0.75 per cent of the loan capital per year.
The project is part of Southeast Asia’s regional program on disaster risk management financed by the World Bank, which includes a series of projects in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Currently, Myanmar is implementing the Myanmar Flood and Landslide Emergency Recovery Project, which supports the resilient recovery of communities impacted by the devastating floods of 2015.—GNLM

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