Philippines: ADB to assist Leyte landslide area with $3 million grant

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB is assisting the victims of the February 2006 landslide in Southern Leyte province, Philippines, with a $3 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, financed by the Government of Japan.

The money will be used to rehabilitate and reconstruct key infrastructure facilities in the province of Southern Leyte that were damaged by landslides, including rebuilding roads, upgrading hospitals, and building schools. It will also be used to help lessen the impact of future disasters by establishing a center to manage disaster response and relief.

"The Provincial Disaster Management Center will provide training and equipment for search and rescue operations, and will coordinate the activities of those trying to help victims," said Arjun Thapan, Director General of ADB's Southeast Asia Department. "This is an important step toward saving lives during future disasters."

Southern Leyte is one of the 10 most disaster-prone provinces in the Philippines. The landslide disaster in February was the worst in a decade, causing more than $3 million in immediate damage. In one village, about 1,100 people were buried in mud more than 30 meters high.

The devastating landslides caused about 5,702 families to be evacuated or relocated; damaged about 35 kilometers of roads; and caused more than 20 school buildings to be abandoned because they are located in areas susceptible to repeat landslides.

Shortly after the disaster, a group of ADB experts traveled to Southern Leyte to visit the landslide site and relocation areas, and discussed with the provincial governor and other key officials how ADB could assist. The provincial government requested grant assistance for rehabilitation and construction of key infrastructure facilities.

The Southern Leyte Landslide Disaster Assistance Project is in part a response to that request. The project seeks to rehabilitate farm-to-market roads; upgrade the facilities and services of the provincial hospital of Southern Leyte and the Anahawan district hospital; construct an elementary school with complete facilities in hard-hit St. Bernard town; and provide additional classrooms to elementary and secondary schools in Southern Leyte.


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