ISLAMABAD

The World Bank approved $125 million to support the restoration of resilient flood protection infrastructure and the strengthening of government capacity to manage disasters and climate variability.

Pakistan is vulnerable to adverse natural events and has experienced a wide range of disasters over the past 40 years, including floods, earthquakes, droughts, cyclones and tsunamis. Disaster and Climate Resilience Improvement Project (DCRIP) aims to enhance physical resilience through the restoration, rehabilitation and improvement of critical flood protection infrastructure.

“Disaster events can undermine hard-earned development gains, potentially trapping vulnerable groups into poverty. Therefore, activities contributing to resilience are directly linked to sustained development and allow the poorest - the most affected by such disasters - to escape cycles of poverty”, said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.  “The project will strengthen the government’s capacity to better manage disasters through risk identification, institutional strengthening for improved management of disasters and enhanced fiscal resilience.”  Direct beneficiaries of the DCRIP include the population of Punjab and the region affected by the 2014 floods and exposed to recurrent flooding in Chenab, Jhelum and Indus rivers, where flood protection infrastructure will be restored to resilient standards. Beneficiaries in Punjab and districts of Bagh, Bhimber, Hattian, Haveli, Kotli, Muzaffarabad, Neelum and Poonch, will be helped through technical assistance and institutional strengthening of disaster management and irrigation authorities.

These populations will also benefit from increased capacity to identify, manage and respond to disasters and climate variability.

“The project will help in saving valuable lives, reducing casualties and reducing the magnitude of damage to private and public physical infrastructure including houses, commercial businesses, social assets, services, roads, barrages, agriculture produce, livestock, and vulnerable groups”, said Haris Khan, the Task Team Leader of the Project. “It will contribute towards creating a culture of resilience to disasters, and management of future risks and impacts associated with climate change.”

The credit is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s grant and low-interest arm. It will be on standard IDA terms, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years.