VIENTIANE, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Ministry of Finance and the World Bank signed a financing agreement of 50 million U.S. dollars on Tuesday, extending support to the ongoing Lao People's Democratic Republic Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management Project and Lao Road Sector Project II.
Bounchom Ubonpaseuth, Lao Deputy Minister of Finance, and Nicola Pontara, World Bank Country Manager for Laos, signed the agreement in Lao capital Vientiane, a WB press release said.
The additional financing, endorsed by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on December 13, 2019, will support efforts to strengthen climate resilience in the waterways and road sectors. Half of the amount, 25 million U.S. dollars will improve the capacity of the Lao government to better prepare for and withstand natural disasters in waterways, while the other half will support repairs of damaged roads and the resilience of road infrastructure.
"The Lao government is committed to reducing the human and economic impact of natural disasters," said Bounchanh Sinthavong, Lao minister of public works and transport at the event, adding "Scaling up the ongoing investments on climate resilience in the waterways and roads sectors will help the country to better prepare for adverse climatic events, save lives and protect the livelihoods of vulnerable populations."
In 2018, Laos suffered its most costly floods in a decade. Heavy rains from two tropical cyclones affected the country and a saddle dam in Attapeu province of southern Laos collapsed, causing flash floods. The floods impacted more than 600,000 citizens, resulting in the loss of life of 64 people. The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment estimated total damages and losses of 371.5 million U.S. dollars.