The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending assistance of $89.3 million to help Armenia build earthquake-resilient schools and scale up its capacity for responding to natural disasters in one of the most earthquake prone regions in the world.
“Since the massive Spitak earthquake in 1988, national authorities have taken numerous steps to develop emergency management and response systems and to improve building design and construction,” said Yong Ye, Principal Urban Development Economist in ADB’s Central and West Asia Department. “This assistance will support ongoing government efforts to rebuild and strengthen school buildings to higher earthquake-resistant standards and to further develop the government’s capacity, ownership and initiative in the management of earthquake risks.”
Armenia has about 1,400 schools and around 1,000 of them require strengthening and reconstruction works at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.
ADB’s loan and grant will support improvements to at least 46 priority schools. It will also help the target schools develop disaster preparedness and response plans, with earthquake awareness campaigns to be carried out in neighborhood communities for each school.
The assistance program incorporates lessons learned from ADB’s responses to natural disasters in other countries, including the recent Nepal earthquake. It will benefit around 58,700 students, teachers and other staff, as well as over 87,000 residents living near the target schools, who will have access to improved temporary shelters during earthquakes, according to ADB.
ADB’s assistance includes an $88.5 million loan from its concessional Asian Development Fund, and a technical assistance grant of $800,000. The government will provide counterpart support equivalent to $18.5 million. The program will run for 5 years with an estimated completion date of November 2020.
It is ADB’s first results-based lending in the Central and West Asia region. The new lending modality was approved by ADB’s Board in 2013 to increase accountability and incentives for delivering and sustaining results, improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government-owned sector programs, promote institutional development and enhance development effectiveness.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.