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Govt presents way forward for post-flood recovery

The Lao Recovery Consultation meeting yesterday brought together government agencies and development partners to discuss the way forward and build on the findings of the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) conducted in 2018.
Last year, Laos suffered its worst floods in a decade which affected more than 600,000 people in all 17 provinces and Vientiane.

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. 
The floods destroyed around 1,700 houses, while severely disrupting education and health services across the country. 
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and Chairman of the National Disaster Prevention and Control Committee, Dr 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.
The ministry has been supported in its efforts by line ministries, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the European Union, which facilitated the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment.
A summary of the assessment’s findings was shared with development partners at the Round Table Meeting pre-consultation event in November 2018 and the Round Table Meeting in December 2018.
Also speaking at the meeting, UN Resident Coordinator to Laos, Ms Kaarina Immonen, said the PDNA report estimated the total damages and losses at 3,167 billion kip (about US$372 million), equivalent to 2.1 percent of the country’s projected 2018 GDP.
The recovery needs were estimated at 4,423 billion kip (about US$520 million), 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 helping Laos obtain urgent funding from domestic and external sources.
"The findings help us - government and development partners - to prioritise activities and funding as we move forward,” she said. 
The UN put forward a Disaster Response Plan towards which US$10 million 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 US$4 million to priority areas.
The Ministry of Labour 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.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update April 9, 2019)

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