ADB says resilience key to Solomons rebuild
The Asian Development Bank has approved a US$15 million project to help Solomon Islands rebuild infrastructure damaged by the flash flooding disaster in April which killed 23 people and left thousands homeless.
The Asian Development Bank has approved a US$15 million project to help Solomon Islands rebuild infrastructure damaged by April's devastating floods which killed 23 people and left thousands homeless.
The Bank's climate change specialist, Hanna Uusimaa, told Jenny Meyer the bank is contributing just over $13 million, consisting of half loan and half grant, while the Solomon Islands Government is contributing just over two million.
HANNA UUSIMA: It may seem like a lot of money but actually the estimates for the recovery and reconstruction needs for the transport sector are almost 35 million. And so after contribution from several development partners there's still a gap. So although we can't, the project still can't cover all of the transport sector reconstruction needs that are identified, it will need to prioritise the immediate reconstruction needs. And it's not only for rebuilding but also for the climate and disaster proofing so it's the building back component that takes a bulk of the funds as well. So in practice the sub projects will include construction of bridges, and other stream crossings and culverts, and also river bank stabilisation and river training where it's considered necessary to avoid future damage in similar disaster events.
JENNY MEYER: We did see in those April floods a number of bridges completely washed out. How will you ensure that the same thing doesn't happen again? That these bridges will last any future flooding events and be sustainable?
HU: Yes, so this is definitely an integral part of the project. So the feasibility study will include a climate change risk and vulnerability assessment to determine the adaptation needs and also for these other disasters and climate change. And the adaptation options for each of the sub projects. So what that exactly means for each project or sub project, that really would depend on the results of the climate change assessment. And the results will be fully integrated into the hydrology study and the engineering. But in practice it could mean for example higher bridges or it can mean river training or river bank stabilisation; it's difficult to say in advance. So it would really depend on the results of the study.
JM: And what sort of time frame have you got outlined there in terms of when this project will be completed and things can start to get back to normal in Solomon Islands, it's already been at least five months or so down the track?
HU: Yeah, that's true and there's been also some other reconnection of immediate needs has been already done by other development partners as well through the National Transport Fund. But then as this includes the 'building back better' component it does take time for us to complete those studies. So the actual reconstruction would probably start beginning of 2016.
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