Bangladesh to pursue flood protection with US$15 million OPEC Fund loan

Report
from OPEC Fund for International Development
Published on 08 Sep 2005
September 8, Vienna, Austria - The OPEC Fund for International Development today signed a US$15 million loan agreement with the People's Republic of Bangladesh in support of an integrated flood protection project that aims to safeguard nine district towns from future damage. The initiative forms part of an ongoing government Flood Action Plan, whereby the capital, Dhaka and15 towns were identified for integrated flood protection
Bangladesh is notably vulnerable to flooding. Exceedingly flat and situated within the broad delta created by the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers, large swathes of the country are inundated every monsoon season. This has serious consequences for urban areas, where economic losses are high due to the concentration of commercial and industrial activity. The social impact is also severe, with water logging of sewage systems resulting in widespread environmental degradation and unsanitary living conditions.

To date, the Flood Action Plan has been successfully implemented in Dhaka, and in six district towns. The Fund-sponsored project will use an integrated approach, combining flood protection, drainage system improvement, sanitation and solid waste management, to provide a flood-free, secure living environment in the remaining towns.

Activities will include, among others, building and reinforcing embankments, protecting river banks, excavating drainage outfalls and enlarging existing ones, together with a wide range of solid waste management works. A capacity-building component will strengthen the ability of local authorities to manage and maintain the new assets.

The completed project will bring many benefits to Bangladesh's town dwellers. As well as enjoying cleaner and healthier living environments, the beneficiary populations will be able to access markets and social services more easily. The project will also generate considerable income-earning opportunities, thus making a significant contribution to poverty alleviation.

This is the 28th loan to be extended by the OPEC Fund to Bangladesh. Previous loans comprise two for balance of payments support, two for commodity imports programs and 23 project loans across a variety of sectors. Through its Private Sector Facility, the Fund has also provided financing for private enterprise in Bangladesh.

Today's agreement was signed in Vienna by Mr. Md. Ismail Zabihullah, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance of the Government of Bangladesh, and by H.E. Mr. Jamal Nasser Lootah, Chairman of the Governing Board of the OPEC Fund.