By State House Communication Unit
World Bank (W/B) Country Manager Parminder Brar on Friday 25th August, 2017, presented a technical team from World Bank to Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma at State House in Freetown.
The World Bank, which is also dubbed as the Knowledge Bank, prides itself on its characteristic extensive and in depth research and analysis to inform it’s interventions across the world.
And according to W/B Country Manager in Sierra Leone, the global institution had, six months ago, sent a team in the country to carry out disaster risk assessment and management in Freetown, Bo and Makeni.
In a power-point presentation of Google Earth images, Ana Campos Garcia, World Bank Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, traced the growth of Freetown’s population and housing as far back as 1974 showing how seafronts, hilltops and foothills have been gradually depleted and exposed. The team pointed out the risks of mudslides and flooding as well as their impact on bridges and other infrastructure.
The initial assessment, Parmindar intimated, would be completed and presented to government in September 2017 and would be followed by recommendations in November when the final report is submitted.
Following the devastating 14th August, 2017 mudslide and flooding in Freetown, the team has also undertaken an assessment of the damage caused including the economic loss and impact of the tragedy as well as the recovery needs of the country.
And as an immediate response, Mr Brar announced a budget support for existing projects of USD$3 Million and USD$10 Million for new projects.
Brar went on to assure President Koroma and the Government of Sierra Leone that “The World Bank Group is also providing USD$500 Million to Sierra Leone within three years”.
Prior to the presentations, Parminder Brar handed over an official letter from World Bank president to President Koroma expressing solidarity for the August 14 tragedy.
On behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone, President Koroma applauded the president of World Bank for the budget support and also for dispatching a technical team to Sierra Leone to conduct such detailed assessment on the damage caused by the flooding and mudslides. “I am looking forward to receiving the final report from the team in November,” he said.
President Koroma’s priority in the short term is the relocation of affected persons to permanent and safer settlements. Going forward, the president has instructed the construction of low cost and medium level housing to ensure the forceful evacuation of those in disaster prone settlements. His objective is to prevent any recurrence of the 14 August disaster.