ISLAMABAD: The floods in Pakistan impacted 33 million people, inflicted damages and economic losses exceeding $30 billion, and resulted in recovery and reconstruction needs estimated at $16.3 billion, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The bank in its “Annual Report 2022 Building Resilience in Challenging Times”, stated that the ADB worked swiftly to provide immediate support for Pakistan’s flood victims, disbursing a $3 million grant under the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund in September and ensuring supply of emergency food supplies, tents, and other relief items.

The floods that raged from June to October 2022 killed more than 1,730 people. By the time the floodwaters subsided, they had impacted 33 million people, inflicted damages and economic losses exceeding $30 billion, and resulted in recovery and reconstruction needs estimated at $16.3 billion.

ADB approves emergency flood assistance project

The bank followed that emergency support by committing a further $449 million for direct and comprehensive flood support.

Comprising a loan, technical assistance, and repurposed financing, the package covers reconstruction of 485 kilometers of vital roads and around 30 bridges.

It is also helping restore and upgrade irrigation and drainage structures and strengthen flood risk management.

The bank stated in October, the ADB provided Pakistan with $1.5 billion, along with $500 million in co-financing, through the Building Resilience with Active Countercyclical Expenditures Program. This support is helping the government counter rising food prices and strengthen food security, shore up employment, and enhance social protection for poor and vulnerable people, many of whom were directly affected by the floods.

The ADB provided timely responses to emerging and ongoing crises in the Asia and Pacific region. This included a combined $2.2 billion, directed through the bank’s Countercyclical Support Facility, for the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—all severely impacted by the food and energy crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and in the case of Pakistan, devastating flood.

In Pakistan, extreme floods damaged over one-third of the Kharif (summer) seasonal cropping area, curtailing food supply and driving up prices.

Responding to this region-wide crisis, the ADB announced a $14 billion program over 2022–2025 to provide immediate food relief and improve long-term food security in Asia and the Pacific, with significant financing repurposed from existing projects of lesser urgency.

Afghanistan and Pakistan were severely impacted by rising food and energy prices, exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, triggering domestic inflation and curtailing consumption. Highlighting the region’s vulnerability to climate change, Pakistan was also hit by devastating floods that killed more than 1,730 people, directly affected 33 million people, caused billions of dollars in damage, and worsened an already fragile economic situation.

As well as delivering a substantial emergency response for Pakistan during 2022, the ADB supported post-pandemic green growth and increased resilience to both short- and long-term challenges in its developing member countries (DMCs) of Central and West Asia. The bank committed financial resources totaling $6 billion for the region in 2022, comprising $4.8 billion in sovereign financing and $1.2 billion in non-sovereign investments.

The ADB’s support during the year included $2.1 billion through the bank’s Building Resilience with Active Countercyclical Expenditures (BRACE) programs. This helped Pakistan navigate

the economic impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and extreme flooding, and provided a buffer to shore up government budgets in the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

To improve health outcomes for Pakistani women, the ADB committed a $100 million loan for upgrading secondary hospitals in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, a province that suffers from a high infant mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio.

Among other objectives, the project will help modernise infrastructure for women’s health and provide more medical equipment for obstetrics departments. It also aims to ensure that at least 40 per cent of doctors working at secondary healthcare facilities are women. In addition, the ADB investment supports training for healthcare staff on gender-based violence and gender-oriented clinical protocols. It is expected to benefit an estimated 38 million people.

In Pakistan, the ADB signed a $300 million loan to further develop capital markets, promote private investment, and help mobilise domestic resources. The loan supports policy actions to strengthen market stability and attract investor capital, including structural reforms within the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

By making Pakistan’s capital markets more robust and strengthening government debt management, the program helps underpin the financing of sustainable growth.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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