The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $554 million financing package, including new and reallocated funds, on Monday to support Pakistan’s recovery and reconstruction efforts following this year’s devastating floods, as well as to strengthen the country’s disaster and climate resilience.
The ADB provided a $475 million loan and a $3 million technical assistance grant, as well as a $5 million grant from the Japanese government.
According to an ADB statement, the funds will be used to help restore irrigation, drainage, flood risk management, on-farm water management, and transportation infrastructure in the flood-affected provinces of Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh.
The Emergency Flood Assistance Project of the bank will also incorporate climate and disaster resilience measures into the infrastructure design. It has repurposed $71 million in existing loans to support the government’s flood-response efforts.
“This year’s floods, which affected 33 million people and caused massive damage to infrastructure and agriculture, are a devastating reminder of Pakistan’s acute vulnerability to climate change,” said Yevgeniy Zhukov, ADB Director General for Central and West Asia.
Read More: ADB projects Pakistan’s economy to recover slightly in FY23
“This project will aid in the reconstruction of critical infrastructure in affected areas and the restoration of rural livelihoods,” he added.
Following the unprecedented heat waves from April to June 2022, Pakistan experienced a prolonged and intense monsoon, resulting in the worst flooding in a century, with glacial lakes bursting, rivers breaking their banks, flash flooding, and landslides.
The government and development partners, including the ADB, conducted a post-disaster needs assessment, which estimated total damage and losses at more than $30 billion, and recovery and reconstruction needs at $16.3 billion.
The loan will be used to rebuild approximately 400 kilometres of roads, including approximately 85 kilometres of the N-5, the country’s busiest national highway, and approximately 30 bridges. It will also aid in the restoration and upgrading of irrigation and drainage structures, such as canals and on-farm water facilities, in order to restore livelihoods and strengthen flood risk management structures in order to mitigate future risks to agricultural land, communities, and assets.
“As a result of the floods, more people are expected to fall into poverty, and the food-insecure population is likely to double to more than 14 million people in the most affected districts,” said ADB Principal Transport Specialist Zheng Wu.
“This project will provide critical support to restore agriculture and other priority infrastructure to support socioeconomic recovery from floods in close coordination with the government and other development partners.”
The $5 million grant, funded by the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific, will support staple crop cultivation in Balochistan by providing at least 60,000 farm households with higher quality, certified rice seeds for increased productivity across 54,000 hectares of land. The grant will also help women’s agricultural livelihoods by providing farming equipment.
Read More: Fiscal consolidation, policy reforms needed for macroeconomic stability, says ADB
The $3 million technical assistance grant will help with project implementation and the planning of a subsequent flood risk management investment.
To mitigate the negative impact of cumulative external shocks, the ADB approved a $1.5 billion loan in October to support the government’s provision of social protection, food security, and employment. Because a portion of the programme beneficiaries are also flood victims, the programme contributes to the flood response in part.