By Chino Leyco
The World Bank has released a loan for the Philippines to support the government’s recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction in areas battered by Typhoon “Ompong.”
In a statement, the Washington-based lender said yesterday that it has disbursed $496.25 million worth of financing to hasten the government’s programs for victims of “Ompong,” internationally known as Mangkhut,” that struck country last month.
Typhoon “Ompong” caused widespread destruction in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.
With a combined population of more than 21 million, the northern Luzon regions are among the country’s important producers of rice, corn, vegetables, livestock and poultry, the World Bank noted.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), more than 700,000 families, or close to three million people, have been affected by the storm.
The NDRRMC reported that 138 injured and 68 dead in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and the Cordillera Administrative Region, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and the National Capital Region.
The government has estimated the direct damage to infrastructure and agriculture at P33.6 billion.
Mara K. Warwick, World Bank Country Director said that they express their sympathies to all the Filipino people affected, adding this “can exacerbate poverty through loss of lives, livelihood, property and infrastructure, and can roll back years of development gains.”
“They disproportionately disrupt the lives of poor and vulnerable people, particularly women, the elderly and children. We want them to know the Bank supports the country’s efforts to address their needs,” she added.
The World Bank loan came from the contingent line of credit, which gave the Philippine government flexibility to help families and communities recover, reconstruct vital infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, as well as restore basic social services.
This loan facility is called the Second Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan with a Catastrophe-Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO 2).
Approved by World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on December 22, 2015, the Cat-DDO 2 gives the Philippines immediate liquidity to recover from a natural disaster.
The instrument also comes with technical assistance to support the government’s disaster risk reduction and management efforts.
The program enhances the country’s preparedness for natural disasters in the future, strengthening investment planning and regulations to reduce disaster risks, and help manage the financial impacts of natural disasters.
The drawdown period for the Cat-DDO 2 is three years and is renewable up to four times for a total of 15 years. Amounts repaid during the drawdown period are available for subsequent withdrawal.
The CAT-DDO 2 has been renewed to extend the availability of the contingent credit line until September 30, 2021.
The Cat-DDO is one of many forms of assistance available from the World Bank Group to help countries plan efficient responses to natural disasters. It gives a government immediate access to funds after a major natural disaster, a time when available funds are often not adequate to meet the needs for reconstruction and recovery.
Other Cat-DDOs approved by the World Bank are in the Latin America and Caribbean region, including Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Peru.
The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to natural calamities and the impacts of climate change.
On average, more than 1,000 lives are lost every year in the Philippines, with typhoons accounting for 74 percent of the fatalities, 62 percent of the total damages, and 70 percent of agricultural damages.
Also, the country is highly exposed to geologic hazards including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.