The FINANCIAL — The Government of India, the Governments of Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, and West Bengal and the World Bank Board on August 11 signed a US$ 308.40 million credit agreement in support of the second phase of the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Program (NCRMP).
During this phase, the Project will help India reduce vulnerability to cyclone and other hydro-meteorological hazards of coastal communities in the states of Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, and West Bengal. It will also work closely with the states to build their capacity to effectively plan for and respond to disasters, according to the World Bank.
India is highly vulnerable to natural hazards, particularly earthquakes, floods, droughts, cyclones and landslides. Studies indicate that natural disaster losses equate up to 2 percent of India’s GDP and up to 12 percent of federal government revenues. About 5,700 kilometers of India’s coastline is exposed to severe cyclones and approximately 40 percent of India’s population lives within 100 km of the coastline. Analyzed data for the period 1980-2000 indicates that on an average, annually, 370 million people are exposed to cyclones in India.
Phase I, under implementation since 2010, includes the states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Despite the impact of Cyclone Phailin in 2013, it has achieved significant progress: 128 shelters have been constructed as well as 550 km of evacuation roads and 11 bridges have been built. More than 400,000 people have already benefited from infrastructure constructed under this phase.
Phase II of NCRMP, signed today, will focus on developing early warning dissemination systems in the six states, build cyclone risk mitigation infrastructure and provide technical assistance for multi-hazard risk management, among others. An additional 1.6 million people will directly benefit from cyclone risk mitigation infrastructure, while millions more will be covered by early warning systems.
The financing and project agreements for the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project II (NCRMP II) was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Subrai T. Nadkarni, Chief Engineer, Water Resources Department and Ex-Officio Additional Secretary, Government of Goa, on behalf of the Government of Goa; Anju Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority, Government of Gujarat, on behalf of the Government of Gujarat; Raj Kumar Khatri, Principal Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management, Government of Karnataka, on behalf of the Government of Karnataka; Rachna Shah, Additional Resident Commissioner, Kerala House, New Delhi, on behalf of the Government of Kerala, Suhas Diwase, Director, Disaster Management Unit, Government of Maharashtra, on behalf of the Government of Maharashtra; R. D. Meena, Principal Resident Commissioner, West Bengal , New Delhi, on behalf of the Government of West Bengal and John Blomquist, Program Leader and Acting Country Director in India, on behalf of the World Bank.
“India has made great strides in being more proactive in implementing disaster risk mitigation initiatives. This Project will focus on improving the resilience of public services in six states and also improve their capacity to respond promptly and effectively in an emergency, which will ultimately benefit millions of people vulnerable to natural disaster risks,” said Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
The early warning systems, to be on the lines of what is being developed in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in Phase I, will allow states or district level control centers to send communications directly to the villages using Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) or Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) based technology for early warning. Satellite phones or alternative technology will be given to key officials and a new radio-based wireless communication technology will be expanded to coastal areas in each state. Officials will also be trained in operating and maintaining these equipment.
A broad range of investments will be made in increasing preparedness and reducing the vulnerability of coastal communities through investments such as multi-purpose emergency shelters, upgrading roads, underground electric cabling and upgrading saline embankments and bunds. Under NCRMP 1, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is undertaking a hazard and risk assessment of coastal India. This work will be carried forward in this phase allowing for better modelling of multi-hazard risks along coastal India.
“Coastal areas in India are highly vulnerable to natural disasters that can push millions into poverty and turn back the development clock by many years. However, in the past decade, the government has become more proactive and the focus is on disaster preparedness and risk reduction, which is seeing positive results. During Phailin in 2013, close to 1 million people benefitted from early warning systems and cyclone shelters, validating the commitment of the Government for increased investment in disaster risk mitigation,” said John Blomquist, Program Leader and Acting Country Director in India.
Over the years, the World Bank has significantly increased its support to India for its disaster risk management work. Currently, six projects are under implementation: National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project I, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction Project, Bihar Kosi Flood Recovery Project, Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project, Andhra Pradesh Disaster Recovery Project and the Odisha Disaster Recovery Project. In addition to reconstruction, these projects are helping improve the disaster risk management capacity both at the state and national levels, including analytical work, equipment, training, and in particular establishing systems for better risk management through improved forecasting, early warning systems, and multi-hazard risk assessments for planning, and decision support systems.
“The NCRMP is a flagship program, the first Bank funded project in India exclusively focusing on ex-ante disaster risk mitigation with a focus on cyclone prone coastal states and union territories. This project is part of a broader national multi-hazard mitigation program taken up by the NDMA that includes understanding hazards like seismic risk, floods, landslides and establishment of a National Disaster Management communication network,” said Saurabh Suresh Dani, Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist and the Task Team Leader for the Project.
The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.