The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$4.95 million grant aimed at restoring essential infrastructures in tsunami affected areas of Western Solomon Islands.

The co-financed Emergency Assistance Project is expected to require an investment of close to US$9.75 million. US$4.95 million will come from ADB, through the Asian Development Fund (ADF), while the Solomon Islands Government will provide an additional US$800,000 in counterpart contributions. The European Commission (EC) will provide a further US$4 million for the road rehabilitation component.

Speaking to the Turkish Weekly, the Director General of ADB's Pacific Department, Philip Erquiaga, stated that, "The goal of the Emergency Assistance Project is to restore the economic and social activities in affected areas to pre-disaster levels through the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure. Restoring roads, wharves, and bridges, will facilitate recovery, rural development, poverty reduction, and economic growth."

"The affected areas generate a large share of Solomon Islands' national output through forestry, fisheries, and agriculture. Choiseul and Western provinces attract much of Solomon Islands' tourism."

The Project will be implemented over a period of two years 2007-2009. The project will include the rebuilding of about 35 kilometers of rural and town roads and the construction of 19 bridges, five wharves and jetties, and facilitate the repair of the Gizo town water supply and sanitation system.

"The disaster left thousands of people homeless without access to safe water, markets, schools, and basic social services," says Robert Guild, ADB Transport Specialist and Team Leader of the Emergency Assistance Project. "People's livelihoods were destroyed and villages were cut off when roads connecting communities were ripped apart, bridges and wharves washed away, and hospitals were flooded. Recovery and rehabilitation will depend on restoring access to affected areas via infrastructure reconstruction."