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Emergency Flood Rehabilitation Project (Loan 1714-TAJ)

| country: Tajikistan

In disaster relief operations, urgency can be counterproductive with regard to the sustainability of facilities to be restored. In assessing the implementation time, identifying the potential for reducing response times may be more useful than basing implementation time on the completion target determined at appraisal.

Completion of the project’s infrastructure subprojects would have required more than the actual implementation time if design procedures and construction standards had been governed by sustainability considerations. Adequate arrangements should have been made for preparing construction designs.

The implementation time could have been shortened. In view of the recurrent nature of disasters in Tajikistan, a proactive approach can be adopted by training selected Department of Environment and Emergency Situations staff in areas that have caused delays, including procurement, financing, and accounting procedures. The issue was largely addressed by setting up a resident mission with delegated authorities.

Past maintenance, the state of disrepair of facilities, and vulnerability to disasters are interdependent. Disaster relief assistance cannot remedy a situation of deferred maintenance. Attempts by executing agencies to do exactly that and spread the emergency assistance funds to infrastructure not affected by the disaster should be mitigated by clearer eligibility criteria for subprojects.

The immediate emergency intervention should focus on transitional emergency assistance addressing immediate needs of the population; while an accompanying project preparatory technical assistance should identify infrastructure facilities eligible for comprehensive reconstruction and prepare a loan project for implementation when the emergency situation has passed. Capacity building for maintenance management and financing should be pursued along with the proposed loan project.

Education is the key to disaster protection. Large numbers of lives have been saved by the power of knowledge. National school curriculum could be revisited to incorporate modules on disaster preparation. Disaster training sessions covering basic preparation measures, early warning signals, and emergency procedures should be offered to schools and communities. The Government must be prepared to provide additional resources to train teachers, and prepare training manuals and textbooks for disaster-prone areas, if not for the entire population.

ADB and the Government should encourage disaster preparation and preventive measures. More conscious effort should be put toward raising public awareness (through community, schoolchildren, media, and local authorities), putting in place sound environmental protection and better ecological management, and encouraging relocation rather than rehabilitation.

The Government should be encouraged to incorporate necessary repair and maintenance expenditures in its recurrent budget, and where appropriate mobilize local communities to maintain rehabilitated infrastructure.

For the country strategy and program, a special strategy and program should be considered to address recurrent natural disaster preparation and management in the country, and be delegated to the resident mission to implement as necessary.

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