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WASHINGTON, September 9, 2010: The World Bank today approved a $220 million credit to support rebuilding efforts in areas affected by the 2008 Kosi floods in the Indian state of Bihar. The Bihar Kosi Flood Recovery Project will finance flood recovery efforts through the reconstruction of about 100,000 houses, 90 bridges and 290 kilometers of rural roads. It also aims to reduce future oriented risks by strengthening flood management capacity, restoring livelihoods, and improving the emergency response capability of the state of Bihar through a provision of contingency funding.
The 2008 floods affected about 3.3 million people in five districts of Bihar. About one million people were evacuated, 460,000 people were provided temporary shelter in 360 relief camps, and more than 500 people lost their lives. Thousands of families dependant on farming lost land due to siltation, and massive damage also occurred to housing and infrastructure. Overall, the vulnerability of the population greatly increased, in particular for those living below the poverty line and the landless. In fact even two years after the disaster happened, it is still an emergency situation.
"The Kosi flood of 2008 was the worst in the last 50 years in India and was declared a national calamity by the Government of India. The Government of Bihar has been undertaking extensive reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts which will also help us mainstream disaster risk management in the development strategy of the state. We welcome World Bank support for this work," said Anup Mukerji, Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar.
"For more than a decade, the Bank has been assisting the Government of India in effectively responding to disasters. We will bring the lessons learned from the past to our efforts in Bihar," said Roberto Zagha, Country Director, World Bank India.
The Government of Bihar has been extremely proactive in relief operations in the immediate aftermath of the flood and received support from the Government of India for this. The World Bank received an official request for assistance in December 2009 and has processed the operation under emergency procedures. "The Government of Bihar urgently needs to rebuild houses and key infrastructure, and restore livelihoods. We also aim to build local capacity to respond to possible future disasters. The proposed project constitutes the first phase of a larger, multi-sector engagement with Bihar on risk and vulnerability reduction. Successive phases will provide a more comprehensive program of support for the state's longer term needs on overall disaster management which would likely include flood management, connectivity and agricultural productivity," said Mandakini Kaul, Project Task Manager, World Bank.
The project has five key components:
· Owner Driven Housing Reconstruction - which will reconstruct the damaged houses of about 100,000 households using an owner driven reconstruction model.
· Reconstruction of Roads and Bridges - which will help restore connectivity by reconstruction of damaged roads and bridges. About 2.2 million people are expected to be benefited through the construction of about 90 bridges and culverts on the State Highway and Major District Roads and reconstruction of about 290 km of rural roads.
· Strengthening Flood Management Capacity - which will focus on strengthening the overall flood forecasting and flood-erosion management capacity in Bihar.
· Livelihood Restoration and Enhancement - which will help build social and financial capital, and restore and expand the livelihood opportunities of the affected people.
· Improving Emergency Response Capacity - which will provide contingency funding for works, goods and services required to respond in case of future calamities.
The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) - the World Bank's concessionary lending arm - which provides interest-free loans with 35 years to maturity and a 10-year grace period.