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Japan provides US$3.9 m to tackle Mekong floods and droughts

The government of Japan will provide a grant of 412 million Japanese Yen (about US$3.9 million) to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to support the monitoring and forecasting of floods and droughts.
An agreement on the funding was signed last week by representatives of the MRC and the Japan government in Vientiane. The funds will be provided over four years during 2020-23.

The aid will transform the MRC’s Regional Flood and Drought Management Centre (RFDMC) in Phnom Penh into a centre of excellence in providing faster and more accurate flood and drought forecasting and early warning to the lower Mekong countries – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
One of the key activities this funding will support is improved public information on floods and droughts with the use of advanced technologies, so that local communities and governments are informed well in time and damage can be reduced during natural disasters.
It will also help to facilitate an integration of flood and drought management functions to provide longer lead-time and better accuracy of forecasting.
The MRC Secretariat’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr An Pich Hatda, said at the signing ceremony, held at the headquarters of the Secretariat in Vientiane, that the grant will enable the centre to further improve its flood and drought forecasting capability with the aim of assisting member countries to effectively tackle flood and drought risks for vulnerable communities.
The Japan government has been one of the long-standing development partners of the MRC since 2001, and has provided more than US$18 million to support several projects, including those for flood and drought management, irrigation, climate change and environmental management.
In 2004, the Japanese funding helped the MRC to build the Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre, the predecessor of today’s RFDMC. It equipped the centre with necessary facilities and tech-nologies to provide daily flood forecasts and river monitoring to the region.
Japan believes the current financial support will be used to further strengthen MRC’s efforts in flood and drought counter-measures in the lower Mekong River Basin, which faces frequent floods and droughts.
The Ambassador of Japan to Laos, Mr Keizo Takewaka, pointed out that the funding represents the trust and confidence Japan has placed in the MRC and its work to mitigate natural disasters and improve the management of water resources in the Mekong River Basin.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 17, 2020)

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