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Sierra Leone News: Missing World Bank report raises questions

The World Bank Country Manager, Parminder Brar, announced on Tuesday August 29, that a “disaster and loss assessment report” will be completed on September 8, 2017. The World Bank brought in a team of 23 disaster experts and two disaster management specialists to assess the damage and risks of living in certain areas in Freetown – and other cities.
“Within the period of two weeks the team will conclude its work and present its findings and recommendations to the government,” he emphasized. He added that the second assessment the Bank will undertake is a multi-cities hazardous assessment, which should be available in November 2017.
On 7 September 2017, the World Bank team presented its findings to President Koroma and members of the government.
On 8 September 2017, the World Bank held a press conference and announced that the mudslide and flooding that occurred on 14 August 2017 caused $30 million USD or Le225 billion in damage. More than 500 people lost their lives and thousands of others were affected through property damage and loss. At the press conference, Brar also announced that the reconstruction would cost $80 million USD or approximately Le600 billion.
The disaster and loss assessment report, however, has not been made public. It does not appear on the World Bank website and is not available to media or the public. According to Moses Kargbo, World Bank Communications Officer, the report remains with the World Bank and will be issued, when completed, from Washington, USA. Unfortunately, Kargbo did not reveal a date for when the report will be made public.
Few details about the report’s findings were revealed at the press conference. There was no information about how the World Bank team came up with the $30 million USD figure for damages. How many houses were affected? What other property was destroyed? What items were considered damaged or lost? Very little information was available from the World Bank about their report.
“We know that every year floods happen in the country. We know that issues that relate to land management are problematic. We know that environmental issues are serious concerns in the country,” Brar said.
He explained that as part of the immediate response to the disaster, the World Bank will provide the government $13 million USD for the immediate support for the flood and mudslide disaster. Of this $10 million USD will be in the form of supplemental budget support that will flow directly into the government budget. “An additional $3 million USD will be provided for existing projects. “This will meet immediate needs as well as be used for rebuilding critical infrastructure,” he said.
Wednesday September 13, 2017.

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