WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors yesterday approved two grants totaling US$25 million to the Government of Samoa to help rebuild critical roads and bridges and to restore agricultural and fishery livelihoods for thousands of subsistence farmers whose crops and farms were damaged during Tropical Cyclone Evan (TCE).
“These two grants support the Government of Samoa’s recovery framework to accelerate reconstruction and recovery and to help ensure the country is better prepared for dealing with disasters in the future,” said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. “The World Bank is pleased to support these efforts to rebuild crucial roads and bridges and to provide direct support to families who lost their livelihoods when their farms and agricultural assets were destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Evan,” he added.
The first grant will provide US$20 million under the Enhanced Road Access Project to repair roads and bridges damaged by TCE and to upgrade, rehabilitate and reconstruct existing road infrastructure to strengthen its resilience to climate change and extreme weather events. An additional component will strengthen institutional and regulatory arrangements to manage and maintain road sector assets with a goal to increasing sustainability of investments in road sector assets.
The second grant of US$5 million is for the Agriculture and Fisheries Cyclone Response Project to deliver recovery assistance through the distribution of vouchers to about 7,000 cyclone-affected subsistence farmers and fishers so they can reestablish their agricultural activities. Around 100 commercial farmers and aquaculturalists whose operations were damaged by the cyclone will also receive support. The project will also help the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) repair damaged facilities, establish regular agricultural data collection systems, and strengthen the capacity of the sector in disaster preparedness and response.
“We welcome this support from the World Bank to our long-term reconstruction program as we continue our efforts to rebuild more resilient infrastructure and to promote economic recovery,” said Samoan Finance Minister the Hon. Faumuina Tiatia Faaolatane Liuga. “These funds will help our farmers restore their agricultural activities and will ensure key roads and bridges that were damaged can be rebuilt, stronger and more resilient than before,” he added.
Tropical Cyclone Evan (TCE) hit the remote Pacific Island nation of Samoa in December 2012, killing 14 people, destroying over 600 homes, and temporarily displacing around 7,500 people. Key roads and bridges were damaged, and a government assessment estimated total economic damages and production losses as a result of the cyclone would exceed US$200 million, including an estimate of US$33million in losses in the agriculture sector alone.
The two grants are funded through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, and are part of a wider package of support to Samoa that is designed to accelerate economic recovery, improve disaster resilience, and strengthen public financial management.