ADB okays $15m aid to help quake-hit districts

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 9, 2015-

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a new $15 million grant to rebuild schools, provide micro loans to help restore livelihoods, and to boost awareness of disasters in the 14 districts most severely affected by the recent earthquakes in Nepal.

The grant is provided by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, a fund set up by the Japanese government in 2000 to support poverty reduction and social development in ADB projects. ADB will manage the grant.

“Destroyed homes, farmland and businesses, and lost livestock and harvests

will push at least 700,000 additional Nepalis below the

poverty line, many of them in the hard-hit rural central

hill and mountain areas where poverty was already

high,” said Mayumi Ozaki, financial sector specialist with the ADB’s South Asia Department. “We must help families get back on their feet as soon as possible so they can rebuild their lives.”

On top of the $15 million grant, the Nepal government will provide an additional $1.3 million and the Small Farmers Development Bank, a Nepali umbrella micro finance bank, will provide $1.5 million.

Around $8.1 million of the overall funding will be used to rebuild at least 14 model disaster-resilient schools, $7 million will be mobilized to provide micro credit to at least 12,500 households in the affected districts, and a further $1.9 million will finance training to help people better understand how to prepare and cope with disasters. The remaining funds will be used for contingencies.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, followed by a major aftershock on May 12, affected the livelihoods of an estimated 2.3 million households and 5.6 million workers across 31 districts. This resulted in personal income losses of around $170 million in the last fiscal year that ended on July 15.

Most of these poor households have no access to the formal banking system, with many relying on micro finance institutions, which cannot meet demand for credit from affected households due to their own limited funding.

Schooling was also disrupted by the tremors, which destroyed over 26,000 classrooms in public and private schools and damaged a further 26,000. Damage and losses in the education sector are

estimated at around $310 million. Lengthy periods away from school are linked to poor education attainment and lower job prospects.

The $15 million grant adds to a $3 million disaster-response grant approved by the ADB on May 27 and a $200 million emergency loan approved on June 24. The ADB may also reassign funds from existing projects in Nepal to help the country recover.

Published: 09-10-2015 08:53

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