ADB provides $325 million fund for tsunami-hit countries

HImalayan News Service

Manila, January 3:

Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that up to $325 million will be made immediately available in response to requests from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Maldives to help finance priority reconstruction and rehabilitation work following the tsunami disaster yesterday, states a press release issued here.

An estimated $175 million of these funds can be quickly reprogrammed from existing operations in the three countries, while up to an additional $150 million of new lending commitments could be drawn immediately from the bank’s highly concessional lending window, the Asian Development Fund. In both cases, the principal objective is to ensure rapid disbursement during the coming critical two to four months. “This is an unprecedented disaster and we are moving quickly to assist these cou-ntries in their hour of need,” said president Tadao Chino.

Bank teams are in place and working actively to identify high priority operations effectively in the near term, as well as help lay the basis for the more extensive and comprehensive reconstruction work that must get underway during the next six months. ADB management and staff are working closely in all of these efforts with the governments of affected countries, as well as with partner organisations such as the World Bank, the United Nations and bilateral agencies. Joint work to prepare more detailed damage and reconstruction needs assessments is underway and will be intensified as conditions permit.

The immediate funding identified so far represents only an initial contribution. Significantly increased resources will be available as these assessments proceed and as the development institutions, in collaboration with affected governments and communities, identify longer term reconstruction and rehabilitation investment priorities. The ADB is also actively engaged with other countries that have been directly affected by the disaster, and has indicated that it stands ready to assist if requested to do so.