Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Earthquake assessment shows need for major recovery efforts

An assessment of the impact of a recent earthquake and major aftershocks shows that Nepal’s recovery needs amount to the equivalent of a third of its economy, according to a development partner. The damage to the economy will require sustained financial support and effective recovery programmes to create a more resilient Nepal and to target support at those most in need," the World Bank said, reacting to the government’s announcement of the key results of its Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA). The also Bank said a donor conference on June 25 must provide Nepal with sustained support to repair the economic damage and to prevent more people from falling into poverty.
The PDNA prices the damage at $5.15 billion, losses at $1.9 billion and recovery needs at $ 6.6 billion, roughly a third of the economy. Early estimates suggest that an additional three per cent of the population has been pushed into poverty as a direct result of the earthquakes.  This translates into as many as a million more poor people.
“The economy of Nepal took a huge hit from these earthquakes and there is a danger that many of the country’s impressive gains in overcoming poverty could be reversed unless this challenge is addressed in a decisive way,” said vice president for the South Asia Region at the World Bank, Annette Dixon. "The country needs resources to pay for the recovery that can be channeled through credible programmes to make itself more resilient to the next natural disaster and ensure that those most in need receive the help they deserve."
The conference slated on June 25 is organised by the government of Nepal to coordinate efforts among its partner governments and organisations involved in the reconstruction effort. The PDNA, led by the government and supported jointly by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Union (EU), Government of Japan, United Nations (UN) and the World Bank (WB), will inform the discussion by highlighting the extent of the damage to the economy - and suggesting how to help the country recover.
Given the short time within which the PDNA was completed, it provides rough estimates of the damages, losses and needs in each of the 23 sectors and themes it covers. This is sufficient to show the approximate overall damages, losses and needs, as well as the relative impact between sectors. The most heavily-impacted sector by far is housing, which accounts for about three-fifths of damages and half of needs. As the government and its development partners transition from relief to reconstruction, more detailed assessments will be completed at the sectoral levels, the multilateral donor said.
“The results of the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment show that reconstruction will be costly and time-consuming,” said World Bank country director for Nepal Johannes Zutt. “To raise the money needed, there must first be clear plans on how it will be spent," he said,
adding, "To this end, the World Bank is working with the government to develop credible recovery programmes that will be implemented with transparency and accountability for the benefit of those, who lost the most from the earthquake disaster."
The World Bank plans soon to announce a comprehensive package of support for Nepal. Subject to Board approval, the package will consist of budget and financial sector support and finance for housing reconstruction in poor rural areas. The bank is also planning to redirect money from existing projects and to set up a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF). The fund will help Nepal’s partners coordinate their financing in the reconstruction effort.
“As we prepare to extend the support to the areas of Nepal damaged by the earthquake, we will ensure that the development needs in other parts of the country continue to be met,” said World Bank country manager for Nepal Takuya Kamata. “We also need to remember that for many people in Nepal the disaster is far from over," he said, adding that humanitarian relief efforts remain critical and must continue with reconstruction.

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