India’s coastline gets boost from 236 million dollar World Bank disaster funding

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May 2001 cyclone that hit India
The largest cyclone that hit India in 2001, with 3 minute sustained winds of 135 miles per hour, caused what had been reported at the time 140-900 missing fishermen in the region. Surprisingly the storm mostly impacted the sea regions and did not hurt the coastline as strongly as had been predicted, but 200 homes nonetheless were destroyed. Other more recent cyclones have created much more damage to the coastline. Climate change may be partly to blame for more cyclones in the region says some experts. Image: NOAA

(WNN) Pondicherry, INDIA, SOUTH ASIA: Approving $236 million (U.S.) dollars in credit today The World Bank  is hoping new funding will lift the economy of suffering communities on the heavily populated coastal India region of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. A big part of the goal is to help fund more resilient building for new housing that will help local homes, and other structures, withstand high level water disasters on the coastline of India.

As rising occurrence of high intensity cyclones continues, storm surges, coastal flooding and depletion of coastal land areas, along with destruction of buildings, is also occurring.

“Over the past century, 55 cyclones have crossed Tamil Nadu,” outlined the World Bank in a recent statement release.

“Some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry live in the zone up to 1,000 meters from the high tide line and its immediate vicinity. They would be the primary beneficiaries of the project,” continued the World Bank. “These communities mainly comprise of fishers, farmers and other allied professions. Some 150 coastal villages will benefit from the risk mitigation infrastructure which will get created through the project.”

Over 17,000 families are expected to benefit from the project as “permanent multi-hazard resilient houses” are installed.

“The project will also build evacuation infrastructure including shelters, access roads and early disaster warning systems. Disaster management curriculums for schools and training institutions will help benefit a large community of school children and trainees,” The World Bank added.

Called the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction Project The World Bank funding initiative is hoping that risk reduction and mitigation will be the result of the new and stronger construction focus.


Striking on average once every two years, cyclones on the Tamil Nadu coastline region have caused too many families to lose their homes, and others to lose their lives, say advocates of the new program launch at The World Bank.

India is especially vulnerable to natural water disasters as 40 percent of its population live in coastal areas that span 5,700 km (3,541 miles).

Local economies, especially in the fishing industry, continue to be impacted when cyclones strike.  To come to the aid of fishing communities The World Bank project will be working also inside fisheries with a goal to help educate fishermen (and women) personal safety under ocean disaster events.


“These coastal areas in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are highly vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters that can push millions into poverty and turn back the developmental clock by many years,” shared Country Director for The World Bank in India, Onno Ruhl.

As part of the construction plans approximately 14,400 “multi-hazard” resilient permanent housing units will also be built across 11 coastal districts in Tamil Nadu. These building plans include removing overhead electrical lines that currently extend over 1,000 km (622 miles) as lines are placed underground to prevent electrical outages during intense storms.


“The project will address multiple hazard-related challenges faced by the people of coastal Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry with a focus on risk reduction and mitigation,” says Deepak Singh, project team leader and senior disaster risk management specialist for The World Bank.

In addition to programs that hope to provide more community safety measures, construction plans are underway to build 120 evacuation shelters and 440 public warning systems, including signs with safety routes for evacuation outlined.



In addition, evacuation shelters could also function as community halls, school classrooms, and vocational training centers, says The World Bank.


“As climate change becomes more pronounced, hazard events are expected to grow and intensify,” The World Bank adds as it outlines that the financier for the project is the International Development Association (IDA).

India is making “strides” to be prepared for natural disasters before they strike, say disaster preparedness agencies. One legal measure has been made inside India within the last few years through the installment of law with the Disaster Management Act 2005. Two agencies that now work directly with natural disaster in the region are the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs).

“We hope our partnership with the government of India will improve disaster management, preventing the kind of loss of life and livelihood we saw during the 2004 tsunami,” added World Bank Country Director Ruhl.


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