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Sierra Leone Business: $30m lost in landslide… World Bank puts $82M for recovery

Perminda Brar and Henry Kerali

Perminda Brar and Henry Kerali

At the end of its assessment of the damage done during the 14th August disaster, The World Bank says physical damage done during the landslide and flooding is around $30million.
The World Bank says it has set aside $82million to finance the recovery.
The Report titled ‘Direct Disaster and Loss Assessment’ was done by a team of World Bank staff, UN Agencies staff along with local and international consultants. It was presented Friday to President Koroma at a meeting with his cabinet members and development partners.
Henry Kerali Country Director for World Bank Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone and Perminda Brar Country Manager for Sierra Leone later briefed journalists about the assessment said the “preliminary result of the damage and loss indicate that the actual physical damage is up to the tune of $30million damage to health, education industry, transport and housing.”
He disclosed “that the recovery and the entire process has been broken down into short, medium and long term and this amounts to a total of about $82million.”
The short term, which is about three month Kerali said, is immediate and its priorities include to “reconstructing some of the foot bridges that were washed away across the channels,” adding this will amount to about $15m.”
The medium term activity, which is up to one year, will start between the fourth month after the short term, and activities under this category will include restoration of the roads, vehicle bridges, broken water supply, reconstruction and rehabilitation of some of the schools and health centers, and this will cost about $25million.
The long term the Country Director explained looks into activities that would prevent the re-occurrence of a similar incident “and where that is not possible to prevent, at least put some mitigation efforts. We estimate it at $42 million beyond the medium term is the long term.”
Kerali said the assessment started with the technical component which involves geological surveys that require use of various equipment and one of which was a drone that flew over the area several times.
He added that the technical analysis indicates that the original cause is the heavy rain which resulted to flooding in the area and those in the lower or valley part already had flood warning and so were moving.
“These heavy rains softened the grounds and so the first failure around 7a.m resulted in landslide at the foot of the hill and that landslide then washed together with the flood and became mud flood down the valley. Because there was so much of it also triggered the higher part of that mountain to fail because the lower foot hills had been washed away and therefore there was no support and that resulted in the big boulders of rock that came down afterwards about ten fifteen minutes.”
Besides the fund for the landslide recovery, the Bank Henry Kerali said has supported Sierra Leone in several areas as they have provided “a grant of $10million targeted support for the recovery efforts after the landslide. This grant is expected to be approved by Board of Executive Directors of the Bank by next month and will be disbursed by the Ministry of finance immediately.”
Maintaining that, “we also have additional portfolios that covers several sectors including health, education, agriculture and tourism. We anticipate that we are re-organising this portfolio and release up to $3m that could be used to support immediate recovery efforts particularly in areas such as health and education and some for the transport links.
He added that the Bank has increased it support to Sierra Leone for the next three years, “with the total amount which is now about $312M starting with the current fiscal year. This compares to the over $155M so it is almost double the financing support to the country.  About 50% of this will be grant while the other 50% will be soft loan or credit payable within 40 years”.
By Betty Milton
Monday September 11, 2017.

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