ADB Loans $75M for Flood Recovery Efforts

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday pledged a $75 million loan to assist in the rebuilding of infrastructure damaged in the northwest of the country during the floods of 2013. The Australian government gave an additional $6.7 million grant toward the relief efforts.

The floods of September and October killed 168 people and wreaked havoc on rice crops, roads and bridges, particularly in the northwest, causing an estimated $356 million in damages.

“The assistance will be used to rehabilitate flood damaged infrastructure, namely national and provincial roads, rural roads, and irrigation schemes in six provinces,” said Piseth Long, ADB senior project officer. The six provinces are Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kompong Cham, Kompong Thom, Oddar Meanchey and Siem Reap.

Speaking to donors at an event earlier this month, Nhim Vanda, vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said the government needed financial assistance to make up a $217 million shortfall in funding for flood recovery.

The NCDM, which has been criticized for poor management of disaster relief efforts, will play a coordinating role in the allocation and use of the ADB funds. The ministries of economy and finance ($1.6 million), public works and transport ($29.1 million), rural development ($25.5 million), and water resources and meteorology ($23.8 million) will be tasked with handling the majority of the loan, with the remainder placed in a reserve fund, according to Mr. Long.

Rebuilding damaged roads, bridges and irrigation canals is the first priority of the ADB’s loan. “Farmers will not receive any money,” Mr. Vanda said Wednesday. “The money will be used to rebuild the infrastructure around them.”

Also Wednesday, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology released its forecast for the 2014 rainy season, which will see a decrease in rainfall but an increase in lightning, thunderstorms and strong gusts of wind.

It predicts that the rainy season will begin in the second week of May.

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