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LESSONS:

Flood Emergency Rehabilitation Project (Loan 1633-KGZ)

| country: Kyrgyz Republic

Preparing a long list of eligible subprojects provided the required flexibility in the scope of the Project and should have been adhered to when the need for changes arose. The practice adopted during implementation was less than transparent and raised concerns that ADB’s loan funds were used to leverage the Government’s maintenance budgets rather than provide disaster relief.

Supervisory capacity on the ground was inadequate. Rather than concentrating resources on the project management unit at Ministry of Ecology and Emergency Situations headquarters and relying on one international consultant, the project implementation units in the field should have been strengthened.

In disaster relief operations, urgency can be counterproductive with regard to the sustainability of the facilities to be restored. In assessing the length of implementation periods, it is useful to identify potentials for reducing response times, rather than benchmarking the implementation period on the completion target that was determined at appraisal.

Completing the Project’s infrastructure subprojects would have taken longer 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.

There was scope for shortening the implementation time. In view of the recurrent nature of disasters in Kyrgyz Republic, a proactive approach can be adopted by training selected executing agency staff in areas that have caused delays, including procurement, financing, and accounting procedures. The issue has largely been addressed by setting up a resident mission with delegated authority.

Levels of past maintenance, the state of repair of facilities, and vulnerability to disasters are linked. Disaster relief assistance cannot remedy deferred maintenance. Attempts by the executing agency to do exactly that and even 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 people’s immediate needs, while accompanying project preparatory technical assistance should identify infrastructure eligible for comprehensive reconstruction and prepare a loan project for implementation after the emergency 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. Countless lives have been saved by the simple power of knowledge. National school curricula could be revisited to incorporate modules on disaster preparation. Disaster training sessions covering basic preparation, 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.

The Government should internalize necessary repair and maintenance expenditures in its recurrent budget and, where appropriate, mobilize local communities to look after the upkeep of the rehabilitated infrastructure.

There is a need to consider, at the country strategy and program level, a special strategy and program to address preparations for, and the management of, recurrent natural disasters delegated to resident mission to implement as necessary.

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