Solomon Islands

ADB and Solomon Islands government partner on a plan to restore social and economic services to tsunami affected areas

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Honiara, Solomon Islands (25 May 2007) -The Solomon Islands Government and the Asian Development Bank have agreed on an Emergency Assistance Project for the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Western and Choiseul Provinces in the western Solomon Islands. ADB has committed to assisting the Government by providing technical support in overall coordination, and drafting the Recovery Action Plan, in cooperation with other development partners.

The proposed project, which will be cofinanced by the European Union, will be implemented from 2007-2009. It will finance rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure, including about 35 kilometres of roads, 29 bridges, about four wharves, one jetty, and the Gizo town water supply and sanitation system.

"Damaged roads, bridges, and wharves in the tsunami affected areas must be restored as soon as possible, so people can once again have easy access to markets and clinics," said Solomon Islands Finance Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo. "Re-building and rehabilitating infrastructure will help people return to their normal lives."

"One of the main goals of the Emergency Assistance Project is to restore economic and social activities in the affected areas to the pre-tsunami level," said Robert Guild, Senior Transport Specialist from ADB's Pacific Department. "We look forward to working with the Solomon Islands Government, to help make the affected areas less vulnerable to natural disasters in the future."

The disaster has worsened the ability of rural people to export agricultural and fisheries products, access markets and social services, support tourism, and has reduced access to safe water supplies. This is expected to have a negative impact on growth, poverty, and social indicators. It has also increased the vulnerability of infrastructure to climate change and future disasters.

A massive undersea earthquake struck on 2 April, triggering a tsunami that devastated Western and Choiseul provinces. Islands in these two provinces suffered widespread damage to housing, infrastructure, schools, and medical facilities. Several villages were destroyed. An estimated 20,000 people of a total population of 90,000 have been affected, with about 5,000 people displaced and 52 dead.

ADB responded to the disaster by dispatching staff to support infrastructure assessments, communications, programming, and donor coordination. Staff visited the affected areas, supported the Ministry of Infrastructure Development in carrying out initial infrastructure damage and needs assessment, and provided strategic advice to the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination in defining and establishing the process toward recovery and rehabilitation.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members - 48 from the region. In 2006, it approved loans and grants for projects totaling $8.5 billion, and technical assistance amounting to almost $242 million.

For further information, please contact:

Asian Development Bank
Sally Shute-Trembath
External Relations Officer
Tel: +612 8270 94444
sshute-trembath@adb.org

Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet
Solomon Islands Government Communications Unit
George Herming
Government Communications Officer
Tel: +677 25369
gherming@pmc.gov.sb

Asian Development Bank
© Asian Development Bank