The World Bank approved a $125 million package to support Kerala's preparedness to fight against pandemic, disease outbreak, natural disaster and climate change on Friday, June 25. In 2018, Kerala saw one of the worst floods in a century, which impacted over 5 million people, mainly in the Pamba river basin. The statement issued by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors said the Resilient Kerala will focus on two important areas, including incorporating disaster planning in the master plans of urban and local self-governments. This is to ease financial constraints on the state governments, reported Business Standard.
This program will help make the health, water resources management, agriculture and road sectors more resilient to calamities. The program is part of a programmatic series of bank-financed operation in the state. The First Resilient Kerala Development Policy Operations approved in June 2019 initiated many projects, including helping the state draft a River Basin Conservation and Management Act, introduced climate-resilient agriculture, risk-informed land use, and disaster management planning.
Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India, said that in today's context of increased economic,climatic, and health shocks, building resilience of economies is a policy imperative. The programme will be covered across the state and in the Pamba River Basin, Kerala will test a multisectoral approach in Idukki, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, and Alappuzha districts.
"The Bank is therefore investing in Kerala's capabilities to respond to shocks to the state economy and, importantly, prevent as much as possible the loss of lives, assets, and livelihoods. The objective is not to finance schemes but partner with the Government of Kerala to improve the state's financial health; invest in sectors like health, water resources, social protection and agriculture; and address the drivers of natural disasters, climate change, and pandemic risks," said Ahmad.