The World Bank has approved a $220 million credit to support rebuilding efforts in areas affected by the devastating Kosi floods in Bihar.
The Bihar Kosi Flood Recovery Project will finance flood recovery efforts through the reconstruction of about 100,000 houses, 90 bridges and 290 kilometres of rural roads, the World Bank said in a statement.
It also aims to reduce future oriented risks by strengthening flood management capacity, restoring livelihoods and improving the emergency response capability of the state of Bihar through a provision of contingency funding, the bank said.
"For more than a decade, the Bank has been assisting the Government of India in effectively responding to disasters. We will bring the lessons learned from the past to our efforts in Bihar," Roberto Zagha, Country Director, World Bank India said.
Welcoming the World Bank's decision, Anup Mukerji, Bihar's Chief Secretary, said the State Government has been undertaking extensive reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts which will also help us mainstream disaster risk management in the development strategy of Bihar.
The World Bank in its statement appreciated the flood relief work carried out by the Nitish Kumar Government in the immediate aftermath of the devastating Kosi flood in 2008 that affected about 3.3 million people in five districts. About one million people were evacuated, 460,000 people were provided temporary shelter in 360 relief camps, and more than 500 people lost their lives.
"The Government of Bihar has been extremely proactive in relief operations in the immediate aftermath of the flood and received support from the Government of India for this," said the World Bank. Noting that Bihar urgently needs to rebuild houses and key infrastructure, and restore livelihoods, Mandakini Kaul, Project Task Manager, World Bank said the bank also aims to build local capacity to respond to possible future disasters. "The proposed project constitutes the first phase of a larger, multi-sector engagement with Bihar on risk and vulnerability reduction.
Successive phases will provide a more comprehensive programme of support for the state's longer term needs on overall disaster management which would likely include flood management, connectivity and agricultural productivity," said Kaul.
The Reconstruction of Roads and Bridges will help restore connectivity by reconstruction of damaged roads and bridges. Strengthening Flood Management Capacity component will focus on strengthening the overall flood forecasting and flood-erosion management capacity in Bihar; while Livelihood Restoration and Enhancement will help build social and financial capital, and restore and expand the livelihood opportunities of the affected people.