Archive for November 1, 2011


November 1, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Storms have repetitively struck emerging markets in Asia over the last two (2) months. Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Pakistan, Japan, Taiwan, India, Indonesia and other most dynamic economies of the region seem to be liberally wallowing in swamps of floods.

The signs are very ominous as they bring to the surface the ecohazards facing the said countries. The case of Thailand, where 300 people have died in the latest floods while over 2 million people were badly affected, represents such ecohazards for the economic dynamos during the period.

Below is an update report from the UNDP about the Thai floods.

[Philippines, 02 November 2011]


Thailand: UNDP beefs up capacity to respond to severe flooding
14 October 2011

Bangkok – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has expressed deep concern and offered support to the Government of Thailand as the country battles severe flooding that has killed more than 280 people and affected more than two million others since July this year.

More than 80 percent of the country’s 76 provinces have been affected by the floods. In excess of 900 industrial plants and farmland areas have suffered damage and millions of heads of livestock have been affected.

Nearly 30 provinces have been declared disaster areas and 12 are on high alert for threats of heavy rain and river overflow.

The UN has been in regular contact with authorities including the Thailand Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, and has been monitoring the flood situation and its humanitarian and development impacts.

According to the country’s irrigation authorities, 11 out of the 26 major dams in Thailand currently hold more water than their official capacity, while others are between 82 and 99 percent full, and need to release excess water, forcing more evacuations in downstream areas.

UNDP is increasing its own capacity to support the Thai people at this time, setting aside both financial and technical emergency resources, and will continue to work with the Government to support Thailand’s longer-term recovery and rehabilitation.

The 21st century has been marked by an escalating impact of disasters from natural hazards and a huge loss of life and destruction of livelihoods and communities. In 2010, nearly 400,000 people were killed by disasters worldwide and more than 200 million were affected. Economic damage was estimated at US$110 billion.

“Vulnerability to disasters is growing faster than resilience,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday in his message to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction. “Disaster risk reduction should be an everyday concern for everybody. Let us all invest today for a safer tomorrow.”


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November 1, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

A big infra project is in the pipeline in Bangladesh, which at projected budget of US $2.9 Billion is comparatively gigantic for a developing country. This is the Padma bridge project, which will traverse a river in the country.

As per report, the World Bank already decided to suspended the release of a US $1.2 Billion loan it allotted for the project. The question arising from the decision is: what’s the most reasonable justification for the delay?

I still recall the 11 Major Industrial Projects or MIPs in the Philippines in the 1980s, most of which relied on the World Bank for funding. The global recession came beginning in 1981, which then gave WB’s top management the justification to cancel the release of funding for the integrated steel and other projects. The act was tantamount to economic sabotage, which was so damaging that till these days PH’s suffers from an absence of integrated steel that is crucial to accelerating industrial development.

What’s WB’s drama this time in delaying the Padma project’s funding? Is this really a delay, or is this a cancellation of funding that is subtly a form of economic sabotage?

[Philippines, 31 October 2011]

World Bank Delays Padma Bridge Funding
Posted by Ivy Mungcal on 10 October 2011 03:49:27 AM
The World Bank has suspended the release of a $1.2 billion loan it promised for the construction of a river bridge in Bangladesh in light of corruption allegations faced by a firm participating in the project’s tender process, a senior Bangladeshi official has announced.
Some employees of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. are under investigation by Canadian authorities due to reports of possible corruption in connection to the $2.9 billion Padma River bridge construction project, Reuters says. The World Bank said it wants the issue resolved before providing the promised loan.
“The World Bank has cleared its position during the Washington meeting last week that it would not finance (the river project) until the issue was settled,” Bangladeshi Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said, according to Reuters.
This is the first time the World Bank has suspended any promised funds for Bangladesh and local officials have expressed concern over the impact of the bank’s decision on the country’s relationships with other lenders.
In addition to the World Bank, the Padma River project is supported by the Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Islamic Development Bank and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
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