Tuvalu Gets Continued Support for Cyclone Pam Recovery

September 15, 2015

World Bank Board approves US$3 million grant for long-term recovery efforts

WASHINGTON D.C., September 15, 2015—Six months after Cyclone Pam hit the Pacific, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved an additional US$3 million grant to support Tuvalu’s medium-term recovery efforts.

Almost half of Tuvalu’s 10,000 people were affected by the category 5 cyclone, which caused massive destruction as it passed across the island nation in March this year, before continuing on southwest to Vanuatu. The category 5 cyclone caused an estimated US$10 million (AU$14 million) in damages across the country with wind gusts of 350 kilometers per hour and 3.4-meter ‘king tides’ which flooded parts of the low-lying nation.

“The cost of damages caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam is more than 30 percent of the country’s GDP,” said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. “This grant will support the Government of Tuvalu in their recovery efforts, while continuing to maintain ongoing community services in areas such as health and education.”

Agriculture, housing and coastal protection are Tuvalu’s priority areas for its short to medium-term recovery. In order to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to future natural disasters, reconstruction is focused on “building back better” to ensure infrastructure is more resilient to future disasters. With this improvement comes additional expenses and, while initial estimates put reconstruction costs at approximately US$17 million equivalent (AU$24 million) in the short to medium-term, this number is likely to grow substantially. The additional financing is aimed at reducing the gap that recovery costs will leave in the country’s budget.

“Tropical Cyclone Pam was a once-in-a-lifetime disaster that affected almost half of our population,” said Maatia Toafa, Tuvalu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development. “The process of recovery from Pam’s damage will be long and costly. This grant will contribute towards building a more resilient Tuvalu for the future, while maintaining vital services for all Tuvaluans.”

This additional US$3 million is provided through the International Development Association’s Crisis Response Window – the World Bank’s special fund for use following exceptionally severe natural disasters or economic shocks. The grant will compliment a series of Development Policy Operations (DPOs) between the World Bank and the Government of Tuvalu aimed at improving the delivery of essential services and strengthening the financial stability and management of the country. The second installment in this series of DPOs was a US$1.5 million grant approved on March 26, 2015, shortly after Tropical Cyclone Pam hit.


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