UN presents rebuilding strategy to Kerala Chief Minister

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Thiruvananthapuram, 26 October 2018 – The UN Resident Coordinator in India, Yuri Afanasiev, presented the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) Report to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here today. This is the first time the UN has prepared such report in India.

The report assessed the damage and loss incurred due to the devastating floods in the state in August. According to the report, the state would need about Rs 31,000 crore for recovery and reconstruction. The highest amount would be needed for the reconstruction of roads and transportation (Rs 10,046 crore), followed by housing (Rs 5443 crore), agriculture, fisheries and livestock (Rs 4498 crore), employment and livelihood (Rs 3896 crore), other infrastructure (Rs 2446 crore), irrigation (Rs 1483 crore) and water and sanitation (Rs 1331 crore).

The report highlights the international examples and models for building back better Kerala in 16 sectors. It suggests that Kerala could become the first green state in the country by building on the four pillars of integrated water resources management; eco-sensitive and risk informed approaches to land use and planning; inclusive and people centered approaches; and by adopting knowledge, innovation and technology.

Chief Minister Vijayan, thanked the UN for providing support to the state for flood response and developing PDNA. He requested for the UN technical support in developing sectoral recovery plans; bringing international models and new technologies to Kerala; and in strengthening the recovery committees with experts. The chief minister sought UN support for mobilizing resources for the state within and outside the country.

Echoing the views of the chief minister, Dr Thomas Issac, Finance Minister, thanked the UN for its assistance in mobilizing grants for reconstruction. “We thank the UN for mobilizing grants. This would reduce the amount of borrowing.”

The PDNA is the global methodology developed by the UN, the World Bank and the European Union to assess damage and loss in the wake of disaster and to recommend the recovery needs and strategies. In all, 76 experts from 10 UN agencies and European Union across 13 sectors collaborated to develop the report in 20 days. The UN agencies included, UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, UN Women, UNFPA, UNEP, WHO, WFP, ILO and FAO and adopted reports of 3 sectors from World Bank and ADB. Besides, two experts on integrated water resources management from Netherlands also provided support. The report was prepared after visiting 120 villages in 10 districts and interacting with experts, affected people, elected representatives, officials and representatives of civil society organisations.

“On behalf of the United Nations in India, I am very pleased that we are able to support the exemplary recovery efforts of the Government of Kerala. The resilience and initiative of the people of Kerala have been remarkable throughout and in the aftermath of this disaster, with valuable lessons in innovation for the world. The UN-supported Post Disaster Needs Assessment builds on this and the best international models for building back better. I strongly believe that Kerala is poised to emerge stronger in a way that sets the standard for future disaster response needs in the region and beyond, and become India’s first green state. The UN team continues to support Kerala through our technical expertise and global linkages across a variety of sectors,” said Mr. Afanasiev.

The PDNA was led by the Additional Chief Secretary, P.H. Kurian, Department of Revenue and Disaster Management and nodal officer, S. Venkatespathy, the Director of Fisheries.

The meeting was attended by the minsters, Dr Thomas Issac, G. Sudhakaran, E. Chandrasekharan, J. Mercykutty Amma, K.K. Shylaja, and V.S. Sunil Kumar. The chief secretary, Tom Jose, Additional Chief Secretaries Vishwas Mehta, T.K. Jose, and Principal Secretary Manoj Joshi, Dr V. Venu, Senthil Kumar, IT Secretary M. Sivakankar and NHM Mission Director Keshavendra Kumar and Member Secretary of KSDMA Dr Shekar L Kuriakose also attended the meeting.

The other UN team members who attended the meeting included Job Zachariah UN State Coordinator, Muralee Thumarukudy (UNEP), Ranjini Mukherjee (UNRC office) and Annie George (UNDP).