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Bangladesh to get 140 mln USD World Bank loan for disaster prevention infrastructure

DHAKA, June 9 (Xinhua) -- The Bangladeshi government Monday signed an agreement with the World Bank to get 140 million U.S. dollars' credit to improve and strengthen critical disaster prevention infrastructure in the coastal areas of the country.

The loan for the second additional financing of the Emergency 2007 Cyclone Recovery and Restoration Project (ECRRP) is from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's grant and low-interest arm, said the Washington-based lender in a statement on Monday.

It said the original ECRRP covered a portion of recovery and restoration costs and targeted the most immediate needs in the recovery and restoration of livelihoods and critical infrastructure damaged after Cyclone Sidr in 2007.

Additional damage from Cyclone Aila in 2009 necessitated further financing for the existing project to help those affected, it added.

Arastoo Khan, Additional Secretary of Bangladesh's Economic Relations Division, and Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director in Bangladesh, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides.

"These recurring natural disasters, with increased severity and unpredictability, remind us that Bangladesh is among the countries most affected by climate change," said Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director in Bangladesh.

"We are providing additional financing to help the coastal communities strengthen their ability to cope with future calamities through disaster preparedness."

Arastoo Khan, Additional Secretary of Bangladesh's Economic Relations Division, said "We welcome the additional financing as it will support the preparation of a 15-year government program for disaster risk reduction"

"This is a vital initiative to reduce Bangladesh's vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change impacts in the long run, saving thousands of lives facing the threat of more frequent and severe calamities."

With this second additional financing, the World Bank said it is providing total support of 324 million U.S. dollars for ECRRP.

The project also has 25 million U.S. dollars' support from the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund, 2.96 million U.S. dollars from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery and 4.86 million U.S. dollars from the German Development Bank (KFW).

Bangladesh's Ministries of Local Government, Water Resources, Disaster Management, Agriculture and Fisheries & Livestock and Planning are jointly implementing the project.

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