The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) will provide an 87.39 million USD package of loans and grants to help Vietnam and Laos deal with the consequences of floods and droughts.

The funding will be used to upgrade community-based disaster risk management and enhance regional forecasting to improve flood and drought preparedness in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

Su Chin Teoh, the ADB’s Natural Resources specialist for the Southeast Asia Department, said that floods and droughts in the Lower Mekong Basin have a major impact on farming, food supplies and local infrastructures. He added that reducing the risk is not just achieved by building more defences, but also by equipping communities with the skills to plan, predict and prepare for climate change.

In addition to upgrading or building new canals, drainage pumps and embankments in Vientiane and Vietnam ’s Mekong Delta provinces of Dong Thap and Tien Giang, the assistance will also be used widely in both countries for collecting data, information and the knowledge to prepare more accurate flood and drought forecasts.

Drawing up new criteria for flood and drought prevention measures in the Mekong Delta will also be completed and trans-boundary flood management options will be assessed.

A National Early Warning Centre will also be established in Laos .

First set up in 1966, the ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific by focusing on inclusive economic growth, environmentally sound sustainable growth and regional integration.-VNA