VIENTIANE, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Recovery Consultation meeting on Monday brought together Lao government and development partners to discuss the way forward and build on the findings of the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) conducted in 2018.
In 2018, Laos suffered its worst floods in a decade, heavy rain during Tropical Storm Son-Tinh and the collapse of a dam at the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower plant in Attapeu province led to an unprecedented flash flood downstream, which affected more than 600,000 people in all 17 provinces and Lao capital Vientiane.
The floods also destroyed around 1,700 houses, while severely disrupting education and health services across the country.
Lao Minister for Labor and Social Welfare and Chairman of the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee, Khampheng Saysompheng, said Laos, alongside the United Nations and the World Bank, together with other development partners and civil society, had been working to restore livelihoods and strengthen resilience, local dailay Vientiane Times reported on Tuesday.
UN Resident Coordinator to Laos, Kaarina Immonen, said the PDNA report estimated the total damages and losses at 3,167 billion Lao kip (about 372 million U.S. dollars), equivalent to 2.1 percent of the country’s projected 2018 GDP.
The recovery needs were estimated at 4,423 billion Lao kip (some 520 million U.S. dollars), she added.
The assessment identified priority sectors including transport and agricultural waterways, along with the critical needs in each sector. Its findings are essential to help Laos obtain urgent funding from domestic and external sources.
The UN put forward a Disaster Response Plan towards which 10 million U.S. dollars has been mobilised, with additional funding committed by partners towards the recovery. Emergency shelters have been constructed for people who lost their houses.
The government has re-established basic services, provided food to affected communities, and conducted urgent emergency repairs in the roads sector, using the National Road Maintenance Fund.
To provide immediate support to the roads sector, the World Bank has restructured the ongoing Lao Road Sector Project ll to provide four million U.S. dollars to priority areas.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare is coordinating recovery planning under the overall leadership of the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee, with the goal of restoring and improving access to basic social services and employment opportunities and improving resilience to floods and other natural hazards.
Strategic principles for recovery planning include the rapid rebuilding of people’s livelihoods and the revitalisation of the local economy, focusing on the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups; securing of development gains; coordinated and coherent approaches to recovery; and building back better.