Independent Evaluation - Home > Search

Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - El Nino Emergency Assistance Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
El Nino Emergency Assistance Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 215  91
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 215  91
Sector, Major Sect.:
Urban Transport,
Cofinancing (US $M)
 0  0
L/C Number:
L4250; LP330      
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Closing Date
12/31/2000 12/31/2000
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Richard L. Berney
Roy Gilbert Alain A. Barbu OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
* To help reduce the loss of human life and to minimize the deterioration of living standards that might result from the floods and/or droughts caused by the 1997/98 El Nino event;

* To minimize the loss of, or damage to, economic and social infrastructure that may result; and
*To enhance institutional capacity to forecast and respond to future El Nino phenomena.

b. Components
*Prevention and Emergency Support: (i) flood protection in northern coastal areas, including river dredging, cleaning/construction of storm drainage, bridge strengthening, etc; (ii) drought mitigation in southern area, including rehabilitation of wells, pumps and small irrigation systems, and seed and forage production program; (iii) emergency equipment needed urgently during the flood disaster.
*Reconstruction Support: (i) rehabilitation and reconstruction of public infrastructure [hospitals, health posts, schools, roads and bridges, water supply, etc; (ii) resettlement of families in flood prone areas; (iii) labor intensive rural public works as a safety-net program for vulnerable groups in the Andean highlands to strengthen sustainable agriculture in areas prone to drought during El Nino weather patterns.
*Institutional Support: (i) strengthening agencies responsible for predicting, monitoring and mitigating future En Nino events (ii) preparation of strategy for disaster forecasting and management; (iii) TA for project Implementation Unit.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
The project is improperly classified. It should be classified as a Rural Development or a Rural Roads Project. Project provided retroactive financing for the prevention work under implementation during project preparation. These activities were needed to compensate for "deferred maintenance" in the past. Secondary road and bridge reconstruction, while essential rehabilitation activities to ensure that the poorest segments of society are not cut off and totally isolated, is likely to take more than the two years provided in this emergency project. IDB provided parallel financing for repairing primary roads, while Bank was to finance secondary and tertiary roads.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

Most of the prevention work was implemented, as planned, before the project became effective. This work definitely helped reduce the loss of life and damage to economic and social infrastructure, The Institutional development components were well implemented, particularly those institutions associated with better forecasting of future El Nino events. However, the ICR does not identify any significant improvements in capacity to respond adequately to future El Nino events, beyond being better able to predict their occurance a few months earlier than before and track their patterns.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

116 prevention subprojects ($41 million) were implemented in the northern and coastal areas, which benefited an estimated 500,000 people. Most were designed before the project was initiated and implemented by the Government with Government funds, before the project became effective. the Project provided retroactive financing for these subprojects. The Bank played a key role in insuring that economically appropriate standards were used in road/bridge design, thereby halping the Government to avoid the excess costs associated with overdesign roads and bridges for secondary and terciary systems.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

Preventative work in the southern highlands was not carried out. Fortunately, the drought in this area was less severe than initially anticipated. After the rains, the initial reconstruction work cost estimates was $1 billion, 2/3 for roads and 1/8 for irrigation. Only $19 million of the $35 million allocated for irrigation rehabilitation was used, in nine major irrigation zones. Incorrect technical criteria led to overdesigned secondary and tertiary roads and bridges. Redesigning these facilities delayed implementation. Government counterpart funding for 2000 was drastically reduced, further delaying implementation of reconstruction work. Resulting delays, coupled with the Bank's rigid adherence to its original closing date for emergency relief projects, led to the Bank financing the reconstruction of only 13 of 37 key bridges distroyed during the El Nino rains. Because the Government was unable to reach a consensus on resettlement policies, it requested, and the Bank agreed, to reallocate the funds for resettling 30,000 families who were unable to return to their homes. These families have yet to be resettled, which has substantially reduced the poverty reduction impact of the project. Eventually these funds were unutilized and were cancelled at project closing.

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
UnsatisfactoryModerately UnsatisfactorySome good was done. The ICR does not have a "moderately unsatisfactory" category.
Institutional Dev.:
Bank Performance:
SatisfactoryUnsatisfactoryOED rates Bank performance unsatisfactory because: (i) The project was unsatisfactory at entry and implementation supervision was insufficient to improve outcome to a satisfactory level. (ii) Bank agreement to reallocate funds from Resettlement component undermined a key poverty-focused component.
Borrower Perf.:
SatisfactoryUnsatisfactoryOED rates Borrower performance unsatisfactory because; (i) Lack of counterpart funding delayed, and eventually led to cancellation of several project components. (ii) The Government was unable to agree on appropriate measures for resettlement of 30,000 families who could not return to their homes and this component had to be dropped.
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

*Prevention measures can have a substantial impact on reducing social and economic losses. Many types of contingency investments (including regular maintenance and repair work) should be incorporated in normal sector investment programs during non-emergency periods.
*In designing projects in anticipation of future El Nino disaster events, detailed design standards for critical types of works (such as bridge, road and irrigation system standards based on levels of use) should be decided in advance.
*When natural disasters of this proportion hit a country, the Bank should update its CAS in light of the need for long-term measures to reduce the vulnerability of the poorest segments of the population and the likely changes in the country';s overall investment priorities, especially for extensive reconstruction work.
*The reconstruction and rehabilitation work that needs to be implemented often takes more than two years to complete. This should be taken into account for emergency rehabilitation projects, which, possibly, should be designed as hybrids with two stage implementation programs.

8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

          Why?  It would be an excellent building block for future OED work on Bank support for natural disaster mitigation.

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

- The lessons learned section clearly focused on broad issues related to disaster mitigation programs.
- A fuller discussion of the pros and cons of extending the project closing date (which could have enabled the borrower to implement the project components agreed under the project and thereby greatly improved the outcome) would have been useful.
- A discussion of the rational and appropriateness of cancelling the project component most clearly directed to helping the poorest and worst affected people would have been useful.

© 2012 The World Bank Group, All Rights Reserved. Terms and Conditions