$153 million World Bank loan for Odisha Disaster Recovery Project

About 120,000 people
to be benefited in Odisha
Bhubaneswar: In order
to help Odisha build disaster resilient houses, improve the slums and city
level infrastructure as well as strengthen its capacity for disaster risk
management, following the severe cyclone Phailin that hit the state last year,
the Union Government, Odisha Government and the World Bank (WB) has signed a
$153 million credit agreement recently.
The credit agreement
for the project was signed by Union Finance Ministry (Department of Economic
Affairs) Joint Secretary Nilaya Mitash, Odisha Additional Chief Secretary (Finance)
Upendra Nath Behera and Acting Country Director and Operations Adviser for WB in
India, said a press release issued by the WB.
“This project will
focus on both reconstruction and disaster preparedness. It will help the Odisha
Government rebuild houses including related infrastructure like roads, water
supply, sanitation and power. A very important part of the project will be to
help the state be further prepared for the future,” said Union Finance Ministry
(Department of Economic Affairs) Joint Secretary Nilaya Mitash.
Notably, on October 12,
last year, cyclone Phailin hit the Odisha coast near Gopalpur in Ganjam
district affecting about 13.2 million people in 171 blocks in 18 districts of
the state. The state government in collaboration with the National Disaster
Management Authority (NDMA) managed to evacuate over a million people. As a
result of this massive operation, loss of human lives was limited to 44. The
Odisha State Management Authority (OSDMA), formed after the 1999 Super Cyclone
played a major role in improving the capacity of the state in responding to the
recent disaster. The Super Cyclone of 1999, which was of similar intensity, had
killed more than 10,000, destroyed 275,000 homes and left 1.67 million homeless
in Odisha.
“When the cyclone hit
Odisha one million people were evacuated with minimum loss of human lives. We
are happy that collectively we were able to achieve a greater degree of
preparedness. However, there is still work to be done since despite limited
loss of life, the impact on the lives of the people living in these parts was
massive and we need to make sure that the physical damage is reduced by
building smarter,” said Michael Haney, World Bank’s Operations Adviser in
World Bank and Asian
Development Bank (ADB) jointly conducted a Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment
(RDNA) at the request of the Government of India and in close collaboration
with the Government of Odisha. The assessment estimated the physical damages
across a range of sectors and calculated the cost of reconstruction at about
$1.45 billion. The reconstruction cost for the housing sector alone was
estimated at $480million. The catastrophic event has particularly impacted the
districts of Ganjam (where most of the damage took place and the landfall of
the cyclone occurred), Puri, and Khordha. The sectors covered in the assessment
included housing and public buildings; roads; urban and rural infrastructure;
agriculture; livelihood; energy/power and forest and plantations.
World Bank assistance
has been sought in rebuilding fully damaged houses, slum improvements, and
capacity building of the disaster risk management institutions. In the Ganjam
district of Odisha alone, about 90,000 houses were partially or fully damaged
along the coastal areas, many of them mud/thatched houses belonging to poor
fishermen, farmers and landless.
Another key component
of this project will be to improve urban infrastructure in Berhampur, the
largest city in Ganjam district and enhance the technical capacity of the state
for managing future disaster risks. With over 40% of Berhampur’s 350,000
inhabitants living in more than 200 slums across the city, the project will
focus on improving the living condition of the people living in this city with
better drainage system to reduce floods, better streets and street lighting,
and access to improved water and sanitation services. Work will be undertaken
in about 80 slums in Berhampur city covering a population of about 30,000.
Apart from
reconstruction, the project will focus on disaster risk mitigation. It will
strengthen the capacity of OSDMA for better risk mitigation, preparedness, and
disaster response, in line with global best practices. This will help enhance
OSDMA’s role in coordinating disaster risk mitigation related activities with
other line departments and integrate it into the overall development work of
the state.
Some of the activities
that will be undertaken under this component include establishing an integrated
complex comprising of OSDMA, Geographical Information System (GIS) cell equipped
with a decision support center, Emergency Operation Center and a training
center; enhancing the capacity of the OSDMA by providing them specialized
dedicated manpower and hiring technical experts in the areas of disaster risk
management, hydro-met systems, risk assessment and financing, structural
engineering, remote sensing and GIS; and enabling the affected marginalized
communities to cope with survival risks posed by natural calamities through
community-based initiatives.
“While reconstruction is
a key component of the project, globally there is evidence that some disaster
recovery programs have focused heavily on rebuilding infrastructure and not
enough on better adaptation and preparedness. This project will also focus on
better adaptation and preparedness for the future through complementary
investments on enhancing risk mitigation capabilities of the responsible
institutions. This can not only help in saving lives and livelihoods but also
in long-term disaster risk reduction,” said Deepak Singh, Senior Disaster Risk
Management Specialist and World Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project.

The project will be
financed by a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) – the
part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries – which
provides concessional loans with 25 years to maturity, including a grace period
of 5 years.

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