On July 11, 2014, the World Bank, the government of India and the government of Odisha signed a $153 million loan assistance deal for the Odisha Disaster Recovery Project. The project aims to restore and improve housing and public services, as well as bolster the Indian and Odishan governments’ ability to respond to crises, and is a direct response to the cyclone that hit the country in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The project, which will be implemented over the course of five years, will impact the coastal areas of Ganjam, Khordh and Purj, all of which suffered massive damage. Additionally, around 350,000—the total population of Berhampur—will benefit from the project.
Cyclone Phailin struck on October 12, 2013, on the coast of Odisha near Golpapur. The cyclone affected over 13 million people and was the strongest on the Indian coast in over a decade. The state government responded quickly in tandem with the National Disaster Management Authority to evacuate over one million people. The effort led to the loss of only 44 human lives. The NDMA was founded after a similarly intense cyclone hit in 1999, when over 10,000 lives were lost.
In the wake of Phailin, the World Bank undertook a Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment with the Asian Development Bank. The damage is estimated to cost $1.45 billion with reconstruction for housing at nearly $500 million. According to a World Bank press release, the sectors included in assessment were, “housing and public buildings; roads; urban and rural infrastructure; agriculture; livelihood; energy/power and forest and plantations.” The World Bank will first seek to repair housing along the coast.
Assistance will also be distributed to include improvements to urban infrastructure, especially in Berhampur where over 40 percent of citizens live in 200 slums across the city. The project will seek to improve quality of life by remodeling drainage systems so they are more effective.
But another important aspect of the project is the focus on ways to mitigate future risk. Funds will be allocated to improve preparedness and disaster response time. The World Bank will ensure effectiveness by hiring technical experts in risk managements, hydro-met systems and remote sensing. The World Bank hopes to continue using state-of-the-art technology in their aid efforts.
– Andrew Rywak