World Bank approves $500M loan to boost PH response to COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters

posted April 10, 2020 at 10:57 am
by  Manila Standard Digital
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $500 million in financing to help strengthen the Philippine government’s capacity to address disaster risks and respond to and recover from natural disasters. The financing will also support urgent needs created by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Third Risk Management Development Policy Loan is part of the World Bank’s long-standing support to the Philippines’ broader policy reform efforts to boost its resilience and capability to prepare for and recover from disasters. 

This loan follows two previous Risk Management Development Policy Loans in 2012 and 2015.

“The World Bank is committed to supporting efforts to strengthen the Philippines’ capacity to prepare for and respond to natural disasters as well as health and economic shocks like COVID-19,” said Achim Fock, World Bank Acting Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. 

“Natural disasters and pandemics disproportionately hurt poor families and communities. Enhancing risk management and the capacity to address these challenges can help ensure that the Philippines can sustain progress in poverty reduction.”

The government is currently in the process of strengthening the Philippines’ institutional framework for disaster risk management through the creation of a new department for Disaster Risk and Resilience.

The Third Risk Management Development Policy Loan will support key policy reforms being undertaken by the government in the area of disaster risk management, including:

Adoption and implementation of a unified disaster rehabilitation and recovery planning framework by the national government and local government units;

Promotion of integrated hazard and risk analysis in physical planning, and in support of policy development;

Development of multi-year investment plans for seismic risk reduction and retrofitting of important government buildings; and

Implementation of an emergency cash transfer program during shocks.

The Philippines is one of the most hazard-prone countries in the world. Across its 7,641 islands, the Philippines is exposed to multiple natural hazards including typhoons, earthquakes, flooding, storm surges, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and landslides. Close to 74 percent of the population is vulnerable to natural disasters and 60 percent of total land area is exposed to multiple hazards.

In addition to these natural hazards, the country is now facing the impacts of the global outbreak of COVID-19. 

The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.

The immediate response includes financing, policy advice, and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

Topics: World Bank , COVID-19 crisis , Achim Fock , finance
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