ADB, Australia to Support Drought Preparedness in the Greater Mekong Subregion
7 November 2012: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has reported that, together with the Government of Australia, through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), it plans to provide loans and grants to the Governments of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) and Viet Nam. The finance will be used to fund infrastructure upgrades, community-based disaster risk management, and enhanced regional forecasting to improve flood and drought preparedness in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
According to ADB, the grant and loan package is valued at US$87.39 million and will be used to develop canals, install drainage pumps, and build embankments in Vientiane, Lao PDR, and the Dong Thap and Tien Giang provinces in Viet Nam. Both countries will also employ some of the funds to collect data and information to prepare flood and drought forecasts, and a National Early Warning Centre will be established in Lao PDR.
According to ADB, the current direct cost of droughts in the Lower Mekong Basin is severe, triggering localized food shortages, and costing an estimated US$42 million annually. Extreme floods in the region also costs as much as $70 million in damages a year. [ADB Press Release]