AT A GLANCE
After the cyclones and floods in 2018, Lao PDR enhanced its recovery capacity and helped mobilize financing for reconstruction and resilience by conducting a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment
THE COSTLIEST FLOODS IN A DECADE
In 2018, heavy rains from two tropical cyclones, compounded by the collapse of a saddle dam, resulted in flash floods in the Lao PDR province of Attapeu. Overall, more than 600,000 people across the whole country were affected, and 64 people lost their lives.
Vulnerable communities were particularly affected. Nearly 1,700 houses were destroyed, along with numerous farms and assets. Heavy disruptions in social services and commercial activities have affected income sources and increased the debt levels of households.
Diseases, including dengue fever, increased in flood-affected areas and were exacerbated by the damages caused to health facilities. Malnutrition and stunting also increased, intensifying challenges in a country where 44% of children under 5 are stunted. As in many other disaster situations, the floods also increased women’s workloads and the risks of gender-based violence in temporary shelters and camps.
IDENTIFYING A WAY FORWARD
To identify priority needs and develop a plan of action following the floods, the government of Lao PDR led a postdisaster needs assessment (PDNA). In collaboration with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the World Bank, the United Nations, the European Union, and civil society organizations, Lao PDR carried out a comprehensive assessment that included social sectors, productive sectors, infrastructure sectors, and cross-cutting issues (such as disaster risk management, governance, and climate change adaptation). GFDRR provided critical advisory and financial support to assist the government in carrying out the PDNA.
Within less than a month, the PDNA provided Lao PDR with data and analysis of the disaster impacts and priority needs.
The PDNA revealed estimated total damages and losses of US$371.5 million, equivalent to 2.1% of the country’s projected 2018 GDP, and 10.2% of its 2018 budget. It also broke down the economic and social impacts of the floods for 11 sectors, human development and cross-cutting issues, with highest impacts identified in the transport, agriculture, and waterways sectors.
It followed these with short-, medium-, and long-term needs and recommendations to support recovery process.
Critically, the fast completion of the PDNA enabled its findings to inform the mid-term review of its National Socio-Economic Development Plan as well as its 2019 budget planning cycle. The government allocated approximately $58 million in the budget with specific actions based on the PDNA’s recommendations.