ADB joins reconstruction in quake-hit Nepal

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced here Tuesday that it will reallocate up to 300 million U.S. dollars from existing ADB projects in Nepal to aid the quake-hit country’s reconstruction.



“I would like to convey once again our deepest condolences and sympathies to the government and people of Nepal for the heavy losses of life and property caused by the earthquakes in April,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao at the closing press conference of the 48th ADB Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.



The ADB has already granted 3 million dollars to support humanitarian efforts in Nepal, Nakao said.



During the annual meeting, the ADB hosted a Partnership Forum for Nepal, which was attended by representatives from 25 countries, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Investment Bank.



China has sent several rescue teams and offered humanitarian aid to Nepal, said Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, who led the Chinese delegation to the ADB’s annual meeting.



“We will offer at our best what Nepal needs and coordinate with the international community to help Nepal fight the disaster,” Lou said.



Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at the meeting that India has also sent aircraft and necessary medical aid to Nepal following the quake.



For his part, Nepalese Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said that after decades of political uncertainty, Nepal had just begun to gear up for higher economic growth before the earthquake by boosting infrastructure construction and economic reform.



“But this momentum has now been disrupted by this disaster, the scale of which we have not faced for over 80 years,” Mahat said.



He told the meeting that the most urgent help Nepal needs includes search and rescue personnel, tents and surgical equipment for injured people. Additional food and water supplies are also needed for the coming weeks, he said.



Moreover, Mahat said that after rescue and relief are secured, Nepal will need substantial assistance for rehabilitation and reconstruction, with a 2-billion-dollar National Reconstruction Fund being prepared, to which the Nepalese government has already allocated 200 million dollars from its own resources.



“We are counting on our development partners to fill the gap,” he said.



Nakao said that the ADB has just established a Nepal Earthquake Response Team and will work with UN agencies and other development partners to assess the losses caused by the earthquake and the long-term investment needs for reconstruction and rehabilitation in Nepal.



At present the international community should continue prioritizing relief and recovery aid for Nepal, Nakao said, adding that after relief and recovery operations, the ADB will discuss reconstruction and rehabilitation issues with the Nepalese government and work with partners to finance such needs.


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