World Bank approves US$10 million to restore basic community infrastructure in the aftermath of Hurricane Dean

Press Release No:2008/164/LAC

WASHINGTONDC, December 20, 2007— The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a US$10 million emergency loan to support the Government of Jamaica in implementing its Sustainable Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Plan (SRRP) for recovery from the Hurricane Dean disaster, and to strengthen its ability to respond to future adverse natural events.

“The Government of Jamaica requested our support to rehabilitate basic services, which are crucial for a full re-establishment of normal living conditions. We are speedily responding to the government needs,” said Yvonne Tsikata, Country Director for the Caribbean.

The Jamaica Hurricane Dean Emergency Recovery Project aims to restore access to basic community infrastructure –specifically elementary schools, health centers and critical feeder roads— for selected communities and to strengthen the government’s ability to respond to future adverse natural disasters.

The project will finance rehabilitation of:

- Basic and Primary schools, mainly those schools built under the National Community Development Project (NCDP).

- Community Health Clinics.

- Parochial / Feeder roads, to facilitate access to productive infrastructure and access to health and educational facilities.

- CapacityBuildingfor Disaster Preparedness, by financing studies and activities to strengthen the capacity to respond to natural disasters.

“The Bank processed this loan under the new operations policy for emergency loan. This project is only the second loan to be approved in the Latin America and Caribbean region under this new policy,” said Abhas K. Jha, World Bank Senior Infrastructure Specialist and task team leader of the project. “The Bank took less than six weeks to prepare and negotiate the project and responded to the Government of Jamaica's request to get Board approval within this calendar year,” Mr. Jha concluded.

Caribbean States are highly vulnerable to natural disasters--on average, one major hurricane affects a country in the region every 2 years--and have only limited options available to respond.

Jamaica suffered extensive damage due to the passage of Hurricane Dean on August 19, 2007. Weather conditions associated with Hurricane Dean started to affect Jamaica, especially eastern parishes on the morning of Sunday August 19th. These conditions spread westward to impact the entire island.

The loan is repayable in 17 years, including a 5 year grace period.

For more information about the Jamaica Hurricane Dean Emergency Recovery Project please visit: http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=64283627&piPK=73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK=228424&Projectid=P109575

For more information about the World Bank’s work in Jamaica, please visit: www.worldbank.org/jm


In Washington: Stevan Jackson (202) 458-5054