WB, Govt sign US$ 400 m deal to repair coastal embankments

WB, Govt sign US$ 400 m deal to repair coastal embankments

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The government on Tuesday signed a US$ 400 million agreement with the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional arm, for repairing embankments in six coastal districts of the country.   The amount includes US$ 375 million soft credit from the IDA and US$ 25 million grant from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience, said a WB press release.   M Abul Kalam Azad, secretary of Economic Relations Division and Christine E Kimes, acting head of the World Bank Bangladesh Country Office, signed the deal on behalf of their respective sides at the External Relations Division.   The project titled Coastal Embankment Improvement Project (CEIP I) will help upgrade country’s embankment system and increase area protected by polders from tidal flooding and frequent storm surges.   The project will rehabilitate 600 kilometers of embankments in 17 polders in six coastal districts – Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Barguna, Patuakhali, and Pirojpur.   The rehabilitated polders would provide direct protection to 760,000 people living within the polder boundaries.   A recent World Bank study estimated that currently 8 million people are vulnerable to inundation depths greater than 3 meters due to cyclonic storm surges in Bangladesh. By 2050, this number may increase to 13.5 million due to population growth and by an additional 9 million due to climate change.   “Climate change is no longer just an environmental issue. It is a fundamental threat to economic development and poverty reduction,” said Christine E Kimes. “In a changing climate, there is an urgent need to upgrade the embankment system for enhancing resilience of coastal areas to cyclones, tidal and flood inundations, and salinity intrusion.”   In addition to providing protection against storm surges and floods, the project will help to reduce poverty by facilitating the growth of farm and non-farm activities in the coastal area. Around 8.5 million people living in these six districts would benefit through agriculture development, employment and food security, the press release added.   The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional lending arm, has 40 years to maturity, including a 10-year grace period; and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent. – UNB

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