Lao PDR

Government Presents Way Forward for Lao PDR’s Recovery

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2019 Lao PDR Recovery Consultation. © UN Lao PDR

Vientiane, 8 April 2019 - Lao Government agencies and development partners met today to discuss the way forward on the development of a recovery strategy after the 2018 floods. The Lao PDR Recovery Consultation, held at the National Convention Center, built on the findings of the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), conducted in the period of September to October 2018.

Between July and September 2018, Lao PDR suffered its worst floods in a decade, which affected more than 600,000 people in all 17 provinces and Vientiane Capital. Heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Son-Tinh and the collapse of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy saddle dam in Attapeu province led to an unprecedented flashflood downstream. In August, Tropical Storm Bebinca exacerbated flooding, particularly in the northern parts of the country. The floods completely destroyed around 1,700 houses, while severely disrupting education and health services across the country.

“Since then, the Government of Lao PDR, alongside the United Nations and the World Bank, together with other development partners and civil society organizations, has been working to restore livelihoods and strengthen resilience.” said H.E. Dr. Khampheng Saysompheng, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Chairman of National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, with support from line Ministries, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the European Union, facilitated a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment. The assessment was completed in less than a month and a summary of the findings was shared with development partners at a Round Table Meeting pre-consultation event in November 2018 and the Round Table Meeting in December 2018.

The PDNA report estimated total damages and losses of 3,167 billion LAK, approximately US$372 million, equivalent to 2.1 percent of the country’s projected 2018 GDP. Recovery needs are estimated at 4,423 billion LAK, approximately US$520 million. The assessment also identified priority sectors, including transport, agriculture and waterways, along with critical needs in each sector. Its findings are critical to helping Lao PDR obtain urgent funding for recovery from domestic and external sources. “The PDNA provides a basis for planning the recovery,” said Ms. Kaarina Immonen, UN Resident Coordinator. “The findings help us - Government and development partners - to prioritize activities and funding as we move forward.”

Over the last months, the Lao Government with international support and civil society organizations have organized to provide life-saving assistance to people affected by the floods. The UN put forward a Disaster Response Plan towards which US$10 million has been mobilized, with additional funding committed by partners towards the recovery. Emergency shelters have been constructed for victims who lost their houses. The Government of Lao PDR has also re-established basic services, provided food to affected communities, and conducted urgent emergency repairs in the roads sector, using the National Road Maintenance Fund. To provide immediate support to the roads sector, the World Bank has restructured the ongoing Lao Road Sector Project II to provide US$4 million to priority areas.

Moving forward, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare is coordinating recovery planning, under the overall leadership of the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee, with the goal of restoring and improving access to basic social services and employment opportunities and improving resilience to floods and other natural hazards. Strategic principles for recovery planning include the following:

  • Rapid rebuilding of people’s livelihoods and the revitalization of the local economy, focusing on the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups;
  • Securing of development gains;
  • Coordinated and coherent approaches to recovery;
  • And building back better.

The priorities are in the disaster preparedness, infrastructure, agriculture, health and education sectors, focusing on Attapeu, Huaphanh, Oudomxay, and Khammouane provinces, and a dam safety review. The Government has allocated 500 billion LAK from the 2019 budget towards recovery. Recovery actions will be addressed through ministry recovery plans and aligned the national planning mechanisms, including the National Socio-Economic Development Plan.

The full PDNA report can be downloaded below:

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Hannah McDonald-Moniz
Communications Officer, World Bank Vientiane Lao PDR
Tel: + 856 20 5777 1330, Email: hmcdonaldmoniz@worldbank.org

Ms. Ildiko Hamos-Sohlo
Communications Specialist, UNDP Lao PDR
Tel: 020 7717 7913, Email: ildiko.hamos@one.un.org