MANILA, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Tonga signed a 10-million-U.S. dollar grant agreement on Wednesday to help the Pacific island country expedite its recovery from disasters and health emergencies.
Tongan Minister of Finance Tiofilusi Tiueti and ADB's Pacific Subregional Office Regional Director Aaron Batten signed the agreement. The ADB approved the grant on March 7.
The ADB support comes from the fourth phase of the Pacific Disaster Resilience Program in which Tonga and three other countries are included after making strong progress in building the resiliency of their institutions.
Tonga is highly vulnerable to the impacts of natural hazards and health crises. The ADB's support to the Pacific under previous program phases has helped strengthen policy and legislative arrangements to help the countries manage climate and health disasters.
"When disaster strikes, quick disbursing finance is needed to help Tonga respond rapidly. This program delivers help to Tongan people when they need it most," Tiueti said.
Batten said the program "is helping the government respond and transition from crisis to resilient economic and fiscal recovery by implementing reforms over four phases, including supporting early recovery from disasters."
The Pacific Disaster Resilience Program is financed by a 5-million-U.S. dollar concessional loan from ADB's ordinary capital resources and a 33-million-U.S. dollar grant from the Asian Development Fund, which provides grants to ADB's poorest and most vulnerable developing member countries. ■