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WB to Help Control Floods, Improve Environment in China

CnDG, July 8, 2010 Adjust font size:

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors Thursday approved two new loans to the People's Republic of China to support two projects -- US$200 million for the Huai River Basin Flood Management and Drainage Improvement Project and US$60 million for the Yunnan Urban Environment Project II.

The Huai River Basin is one of the seven large river basins in China, and covers 270,000 km2 in five provinces of Henan, Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shandong with a total population of 165 million. However, major flood and water-logging disasters occur every three to five years, causing huge economic losses and great suffering for the residents in the flood plains of the Huai River Basin. Following the disastrous 2003 floods which caused direct economic losses equivalent to US$4.5 billion and made thousands of people homeless, the Government of China gave priority to the development of flood control and drainage infrastructure in the Huai River basin and has carried out a number of major programs with an aim to upgrade the flood control standards from the current once in less than five to 50 years to once in 20 to 100 years.

The Huai River Basin Flood Management and Drainage Improvement Project will supplement the Government's efforts and focus on relatively medium and small size works on the lesser tributaries in the poorer rural areas in the Huai River Basin in the provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, Anhui and Henan to provide local population with better and more secure protection against floods and water logging, increase farmland productivity, and reduce property losses. The World Bank loan will finance construction or rehabilitation of dikes, flood control works, waterways and other infrastructure, enhancement of disaster assessment and support systems including collection, transmission and processing of information and data on river floods and drainage, and capacity building for local project implementation entities.

"Rather than focusing on infrastructure construction only, we will adopt a new approach for integrated flood management and drainage improvement for this project. The new approach will focus on integration of structural and non-structural measures at both river-basin level and local level, and involve greater rural community participation in the design, construction and management of the lower-level works," said Jiang Liping, World Bank Senior Irrigation Specialist and task team leader for the project. Farmers and rural communities in the project area will organize farmers' drainage and irrigation associations and participate in drainage and minor irrigation improvement works.

The Yunnan Urban Environmental Project II will provide additional financing to the ongoing Yunnan Urban Environment Project and finance development of two water supply treatment plants, expansion of wastewater treatment capacity and river environment improvement in the new urban development area.

"We are very pleased to continue working with Yunnan Province to improve the effectiveness and coverage of critical urban infrastructure services, through investments in systems for the management of wastewater, water supply, solid waste, river environment and cultural heritage," said Takuya Kamata, World Bank Senior Financial Analyst and task team leader for this project.

The World Bank has supported a number of environmental projects in collaboration with Yunnan Province, including the Yunnan Environment Project approved in 1996, the Lake Dianchi Aquatic Biodiversity Project funded by the Global Environment Facility approved in 2003, and the Yunnan Urban Environment Project approved in May 2009. It also supported preservation of cultural heritage under the Yunnan Earthquake Rehabilitation Project approved in 1997.

(China Development Gateway July 8, 2010)

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