KfW is providing EUR 170 million for the climate-resilient reconstruction of damaged roads in the Indian state of Kerala. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), it has concluded two loan agreements with the Indian government for the corresponding total amount. A devastating monsoon in 2018 caused massive damage to the region in southern India. Since the state of Kerala is contributing a substantial amount to the project, no less than 500 kilometres of roads can be reconstructed. The project is being carried out by the public works department of the regional government as part of the Rebuild Kerala Initiative, which was set up after the floods for the climate-resilient reconstruction of infrastructure that had been destroyed.
The shared goal of KfW and its Indian partners is to make road infrastructure more resilient. Due to climate change, more frequently than in the past, catastrophic rainfall occurs during the annual monsoon, destroying roads and other infrastructure. This is why it is important to build new climate-resilient roads from the outset. This can mean putting them at higher elevations, equipping them with sufficiently large sewers and stabilising adjacent slopes to prevent landslides that block traffic even in heavy rain.
Last year's disaster in Kerala demonstrated that resilient roads were able to withstand the floods. The project thus supports the country's efforts to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change. Even in the event of flooding, the new roads will remain accessible.
The flood disaster in 2018 was the worst Kerala has seen in the last 100 years. Around one sixth of the 30 million inhabitants of the state were affected. 1.4 million had to be temporarily moved to emergency shelters, about 500 people lost their lives. The World Bank estimates the cost of reconstruction to be EUR 3.2 billion, of which almost a third is accounted for by road infrastructure alone.
Kerala is much more densely populated than the rest of the country and therefore has a comparatively large road network. Intact roads are essential for the economic development of the region and thus also for the population's income. They are responsible for 85 per cent of passenger traffic and 75 per cent of freight traffic.