Part of Apia, Samoa’s capital
APIA, SAMOA – 22 APRIL 2020: Samoa has received a $US2.9 million grant from the ADB to help finance its health sector’s response to the Covid-19 threat.
There are no confirmed cases of the virus in Samoa, but the government says the scale of the State of Emergency declared on March the 20th is beyond the capacity of the country’s health sector.
The government says the timely assistance from the ADB will help Samoa meet the immediate expenses needed for adequate public health services during the coronavirus crisis.
On 7 April, the Samoa government announced a $US23.78m stimulus package to cope with the economic impact of the pandemic.
ADB director general for the Pacific, Leah Gutierrez, said the $US2.9m ($8.1m tala) would help Samoa respond to the unprecedented health emergency.
Ms Gutierrez said the quick-disbursing financing would also allow Samoa to respond rapidly to the challenges of the pandemic and help support vulnerable groups in the country.
The Samoan economy suffered from the measles outbreak in late 2019. With the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak, the government closed its borders and declared a State of Emergency on 20 March which remains in place until at least 2 May.
“This response and similar actions by neighbouring countries has had a strong negative economic impact on Samoa, with its tourism and export sectors particularly affected,” Ms Gutierrez said.
She said the ADB’s Pacific Disaster Resilience Program was established in December 2017 to help strengthen Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu’s resilience to disasters.
On 13 April, the ADB extended its contingent disaster financing instrument to include health-related emergencies in the definition of natural hazards, allowing for the release of funds in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Pacific Disaster Resilience Program fills a financing gap experienced by many Pacific countries hit hard by disasters. It provides a predictable and quick-disbursing source of financing for early response, recovery, and reconstruction activities, the bank said.