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Japan Pledges US$8.78 Million For Early Warning Systems

Source: Vientiane Times

The government of Japan has agreed to provide 1 billion yen (US$8.78 million) to install weather-related early warning systems in six provinces of Laos.

An agreement on the grant aid for the scheme was signed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vientiane on Wednesday.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Phoxay Khaykhamphithoune represented the Lao government in signing the agreement with the Japanese Ambassador to Laos, Mr Kenichi Kobayashi. 

Early warning systems will be set up in Champassak, Saravan, Savannakhet, Xekong, Attapeu and Khammuan provinces.

The systems are designed to provide weather forecast data and help local communities prepare for hazardous weather-related events. Use of the systems should help to minimise the impacts and damage that could result from possible extreme weather.

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The agreement follows the devastation experienced in southern Laos that was triggered by tropical storms in August and September 2019.

The storms caused widespread flooding, in which 19 people died and some 760 houses were destroyed or damaged. About 765,000 people in total were affected by the severe conditions.

Flooding and storms that year also impacted on socio-economic development in Laos, with the total value of damage caused by weather-related events amounting to US$164 million.

Storms and flooding destroyed or damaged 97 bridges, 747 schools, 43 hospitals and health centres, and 462 roads. In addition, more than 275,000 animals were affected.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Phoxay thanked the government and people of Japan for assisting Laos, particularly with efforts to respond to natural disasters.

Japan’s assistance reflects the commitment made by the Japanese government to support Laos’ socio-economic development plan for 2021-2025 and help the country better deal with weather events and climate change.

The relationship between Laos and Japan has strengthened significantly since the two countries elevated their ties to a strategic partnership in 2015.

Laos regards Japan as a key partner based on the long history of friendship and strategic cooperation between the two countries.