Business & Economy

ADB extending $523M in grants, emergency loans

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MANILA -- The Asian Development Bank announced Wednesday it was ready to provide half a billion dollars in financing to help the Philippine government rebuild areas devastated by Supertyphoon Yolanda.


The Manila-based multilateral lender said it would also give $23 million in grants for the immediate needs of survivors of last week’s typhoon.

“We are working in close collaboration with the government and all other international agencies to provide hope and rebuild the lives of more than 11 million people affected by what is being described as one of the Philippines’ worst-ever natural disasters,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said.

The ADB is the latest in a growing list of countries and international institutions that have pledged to help the Philippines through cash and other forms of donations.

Of the $23 million in grants being provided for immediate relief assistance for affected communities, $3 million will come from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund ADB’s emergency assistance facility, and $20 million from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, a Trust Fund financed by the Japanese government.

“What we need to do fast is respond to the immediate needs of people for food and water,” Nakao said in an interview on CNN that aired Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to the immediate assistance, ADB said it had earmarked $500 million for quick-disbursing loans to help rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Nakao said the ADB still sees the Philippine economy growing by 7 percent this year, matching the top end of the government’s official target, despite the effects of the typhoon.

He did not discount a slight slowdown due to deterioration in consumer confidence, but spending for reconstruction next year may lead to a slight pick up in economic activity.

Meanwhile, the ADB said in a statement it would work with bilateral and multilateral development partners for timely and effective reconstruction.

“In this regard, the first coordination meeting was held at ADB today with World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency,” the statement said.

The ADB said it had also formed a typhoon response team, made up of 40 senior staff members, all with experience in post-disaster situations.

The response team will coordinate with the government and development partners. “The team will soon be engaged in a comprehensive damage and needs assessment for recovery and rehabilitation,” the ADB said.

“ADB will provide full support to the people and the Government of the Philippines together with other development partners to speedily implement both needed relief and reconstruction – especially as the Philippines is our home,” the statement said.

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