World Bank report-January disaster cost over R100m


25-July-2013

 World Bank reps with Vice-President Faure and the other ministers during the presentation of the report

In addition, the senior disaster risk management specialist at the World Bank, Doekle Wielinga, has said that the total costs could run as high as R378 million due to additional preventative measures to ensure that the same problems were not experienced should disaster strike again.

The World Bank, in conjunction with the Department of Risk and Disaster Management (DRDM), has presented a Damage and Loss Assessment (Dala) of the disaster caused by flooding and landslides in the wake of Cyclone Felleng.

The report was handed over to Vice-President Danny Faure; Designated Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sport Vincent Meriton; Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan; Health Minister Mitcy Larue and Environment and Energy Minister Rolph Payet at State House on Tuesday.

The Dala methodology used by the World Bank bases its assessments on the overall economy of the affected country. It assesses the damage of totally or partially destroyed physical assets, losses in the flows of the economy that arise from the temporary absence of the damaged assets, and the resultant impact on post-disaster macroeconomic performance.

“After the January floods, the vice-president sent a letter to the World Bank, asking for support in conducting the assessment,” said Mr Wielinga.
“The Seychelles government was aware that the World Bank supports countries after major disasters by doing comprehensive impact assessments.”

Mr Wielinga mobilised a team of experts, and work commenced with collating information from relevant ministries over four main areas -- the productive sector, which includes industry, agriculture and tourism, the infrastructure sector, including transport, water and energy, the social sector, which comprises housing, education and health and the “cross-cutting” sector which focuses on disaster risk management, environment and gender issues.

“Then we needed to see how the floods had impacted the affected districts and while doing that, we also reached out to our colleagues in the EU delegation as well as in the UN for assistance with reviewing the document and providing assistance with the methodology training,” he said.

Approximately 70% of the estimated cost was physical damage and 30% were calculated as economic losses, brought about by the loss of incomes suffered by the victims of the damage to property or the inability to conduct business due to disruptions in transport, communications and other essential services.

Once the team had calculated the damages and losses, they began to identify the needs around reconstruction.
“A good example of this was the school at Pointe Larue, which was completely flooded,” said Mr Wielinga. “Of course, you can clean the school, you can fumigate it, which was done, but the recommendation was that in the coming five years, a new location should be sought, and the whole school should actually be rebuilt in that new location.”

“So you spend a bit more money but you have a safe place for the school, and you know that the children will not be affected if there is suddenly a flash flood or a landslide. Therefore, the needs governing reconstruction are actually much higher over a period of several years,” he said.

Minister Meriton, who chaired the task force set up by President James Michel in the wake of the January disaster, said the money raised by the National Disaster Relief Fund, which amounted to approximately R40 million, had already been committed to various reconstruction projects.

“In view of this, we need to look for solutions of how government is going to find the money to meet the total reconstruction costs, because we cannot start a project and not finish it. So we are currently finalising a plan with the Minister for Finance to get additional funding.”

Minister Payet said the World Bank team was also providing much-needed assistance vital for the understanding of how to better prepare for disasters in the future, especially in terms of financial preparedness to meet the demands of mitigating the risks of disaster and being able to find the funding to respond quickly and efficiently should one occur.

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