WASHINGTON, DC, June 22, 2010 ─ The World Bank today approved a $255 million assistance for the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (I) (NCRMP-I) in support of the first phase of the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Program. The objective of the program is to help India mitigate the risks and vulnerability of its people to natural disasters, especially cyclones. The first phase is financed through a Credit from the IDA (International Development Association), complemented with $64 million from the Government’s budget.
India is highly vulnerable to natural hazards, particularly earthquakes, floods, droughts, cyclones and landslides. Studies indicate that natural disaster losses equate up to 2 percent of India’s GDP and up to 12 percent of federal government revenues. About 5,700 kilometers of India’s coastline is exposed to severe cyclones and approximately 40% of India’s population lives within 100 km of the coastline. Analyzed data for the period 1980-2000 indicates that on an average, annually, 370 million people are exposed to cyclones in India.
The aim of the project (NCRMP-I) is to improve early warning and communication systems; enhance capacity of local communities to respond to disasters; improve access to emergency shelters, evacuation, and protection against cyclone related hazards such as wind storms, flooding and storm surge in high risk areas; and strengthen disaster risk management capacities at the central, state and local levels.
The program is expected to include at least three phases. Phase I includes the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Phase II will be open to the remaining high risk states or other coastal states that are ready to join. Rest of the coastal states will be covered under phase III. Each of the new phases will be appraised and approved separately to confirm the implementation readiness. This phased approach will help incorporate lessons from the earlier phases as well as include new ideas and advancements in technology in the management of risks.
“As climate change and variability become more pronounced, hazard events are set to grow, both in terms of frequency and intensity. Globally, the understanding of the role of disaster risk mitigation and preparedness initiatives in reducing the overall impacts of a disaster, has grown,” said N.V.V. Raghava, World Bank Senior Infrastructure Specialist and Project Team Leader. “The project aims to mitigate the risks and vulnerability of coastal communities to cyclone and other hydrometeorological hazards by reducing the social, economic and financial impacts of future disasters.”
India’s response to two of the biggest disasters in this current decade, the Gujarat earthquake and the Asian tsunami, has been efficient and very effective. Through this period, India has made great strides in moving from reactive emergency response to being proactive in implementing disaster preparedness and risk reduction initiatives. India enacted the Disaster Management Act in 2005 and established the National Disaster Management Authority and State Disaster Management Authorities.
The credit is provided by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm and has 35 years to maturity and a 10-year grace period.