In October 2008, a major tropical storm produced one of the worst natural disasters to affect Yemen in more than a decade. Thousands of families fled their homes, and nearly 7,000 people perished. The storm destroyed critical infrastructure and halted economic activity. Damages were estimated at $1.6 billion, or 6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The turbulent political atmosphere complicated things further, and rolling out recovery and reconstruction programs commensurate to the scale of the disaster proved a major challenge.
The aftermath of a disaster is a critical moment, when government policies and decisions can determine how quickly a country and its citizens will be able to bounce back.
To help countries like Yemen build capacity to design and implement comprehensive programs for disaster recovery and reconstruction, the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), together with country governments, have developed a series of nine country case studies. The case studies document practical lessons and good practices in implementing disaster recovery programs in Bangladesh, Haiti, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mozambique, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, and Yemen.
Following the tropical storm in Yemen, the government established a Reconstruction and Recovery Fund to finance and coordinate recovery and reconstruction efforts in the affected regions, Hadramout and Al-Mahra. Clarifying responsibility and accountability is important to avoid unnecessary delays during the delicate process of recovery and reconstruction.
“Yemen’s recovery experience after the floods of 2008 highlights the importance of learning from the best practices of recovery and reconstruction programs,” said First Deputy Minister Abdulmalek Al-Jolahy of Yemen’s Ministry of Public Works and Highways. “In Yemen, we plan to institutionalize these lessons by establishing a permanent central coordinated unit for disaster risk management, which will promote resilient recovery, and in turn, sustainable development at the national level.”