The World Bank Executive Board has approved a EUR 50 million grant that Romania will be able to access in the event of a disaster, as our country is extremely vulnerable to seismic risks. This loan will help improve emergency resilience and disaster response infrastructure and enhance institutional capacities for investment planning to reduce disaster risk and adaptation to climate change.
“Many buildings belonging to emergency and disaster response services in Romania have structural vulnerabilities and can collapse due to an earthquake,” said Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank country director for Romania and Hungary.
According to Proskuryakova, the investment in buildings and infrastructure transforms the country into a safer place for citizens and for economic activity.
Romania faces some of the greatest seismic risks in the European Union, with thousands of lost lives and tens of thousands of buildings damaged by earthquakes in the last two centuries. Over 75 percent of the country’s population, including 65 percent of the urban population, lives in areas exposed to seismic hazards.
Moreover, 45 percent of all critical transport, energy, water and communications services, as well as 70-80 percent of Romania’s GDP, are located in areas exposed to seismic risk. Also, the effects of climate change have also increased significantly over the last decades, resulting in landslides, natural fires, droughts and extreme weather events. In 2006, for example, there were extreme floods that caused economic damage of 1 percent of GDP.
The new Disaster Risk Management Consolidation Project will support investments in fire and emergency buildings as well as disaster response coordination, ensuring their proper functioning in the event of any kind of disaster.
The project will also support communication and awareness-raising on disaster and climate change risks and will provide support for investment planning to reduce long-term disaster risks.
The project complements the objectives of the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CATDDO), which aims to improve the national risk management and disaster response framework, and to increase the degree of the understanding of the disaster situations by the Romanians, as well as their ability to react in such situations.
The World Bank opened its office in Romania in 1991. Since then, the bank has provided financing worth more than USD 13.6 billion, representing loans, guarantees and grants in all sectors of the Romanian economy.