World Bank funds further work on infrastructure damaged by Tropical Cyclone Pam
WASHINGTON, June 17, 2016 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$50 million to fund further reconstruction and improvements to Vanuatu’s roads, schools and public buildings damaged by Tropical Cyclone Pam.
The Vanuatu Reconstruction and Improvement Project will fund both repairs and climate-resilient upgrades, strengthening key infrastructure across the country against future natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.
“Cyclone Pam’s devastation was unprecedented in the country’s recorded history and sadly these sorts of climate-related events are only expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future,” said Mona Sur, Acting World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands. “This project will support the Government of Vanuatu to build back better, so impacts from natural disasters are less severe and shorter-lived.”
In March 2015, Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam struck 22 islands of Vanuatu, killing 11 people, leaving thousands homeless and causing devastating damage to agriculture and public infrastructure. Total economic damage and losses as a result of the Cyclone were estimated at US$450 million – approximately 64% of Vanuatu’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
For the past four years Vanuatu has been ranked as the world’s most disaster-prone country by the United Nations University World Risk Index. In the next 50 years Vanuatu has a 50% chance of experiencing another loss greater than US$330 million and, on average, Vanuatu is expected to incur US$48 million per year in losses due to earthquakes and tropical cyclones.
Work will focus on fixing damage related to roads, schools and public buildings with improvements including better drainage and at least one building in selected schools being brought up to the standard required for an evacuation center. If needed, the project also allows funds to be used for eligible emergencies, providing faster and more streamlined access to cash in the case of future natural disasters.
Funded through the International Development Association Crisis Response Window, the project is made up of a US$25 million credit and US$25 million grant, and is consistent with the Government of Vanuatu’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management National Action Plan (2006-2016), and the Vanuatu Infrastructure Strategic Investment Plan (2015-2024).
For more information about this project, please visit: www.worldbank.org/pacificislands
For more information about the World Bank Group’s work on disaster risk management, please visit: www.worldbank.org/disaster