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The Asian Development Bank has approved a $303-million or approximately P17.1 billion loan aimed at reducing flood risks while safeguarding the livelihoods of communities along three major rivers in the Philippines.

The first phase of ADB’s Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation Project will upgrade and build flood protection infrastructure in the Abra river basin in northern Luzon, and Ranao/Agus and Tagum-Libuganon river basins in Mindanao.

The project includes nature-based solutions such as the restoration of old river channels for natural drainage, and the strengthening of riverbanks by planting mangroves and vegetation.

Manila-based lender said the project will also strengthen the country’s capacity in flood risk management planning by providing training to government officials, installing equipment for weather and river flow monitoring and early flood warning, and establishing an asset management information system.

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It also aims to strengthen community-based flood risk management by supporting 22 local government units and 150 barangays in updating their climate and disaster risk assessments, and integrating them into local development plans.