WASHINGTON, February 14, 2019 – More than 350,000 people living in vulnerable settlements in the Greater Paramaribo area of Suriname will benefit from a US$35 million flood risk management project approved today by the World Bank’s board of directors. The investment will improve drainage infrastructure and strengthen the Saramacca Canal system.
Suriname is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impact of flooding, as 30 percent of the country is within a few meters above sea level. Flooding is exacerbated by heavy rainfall and inadequate drainage in more densely populated urban areas. The Saramacca Canal, that connects the Suriname and Saramacca rivers, is an important domestic shipping link and the most important drainage system for the central and western areas of Paramaribo.
“We are committed to help Suriname adapt to climate change and build long term resilience to climate risks. This project is particularly critical for the vulnerable communities of greater Paramaribo that are living the impact of climate change every day. It also complements existing efforts from other partners to strengthen disaster risk management in the country,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
Severe flooding has affected the coastal region and the capital of Paramaribo, where most of the population and physical infrastructure are concentrated. To reduce flood risks, the Saramacca Canal System Rehabilitation Projectwill upgrade critical drainage infrastructure in the Saramacca Canal to better discharge water, as well other targeted secondary and tertiary systems. It will also optimize the overall maintenance of the canal and navigation; reduce the inundation time for property and businesses; develop a flood forecasting service; and implement an emergency response in the event of a natural disaster.
The project is financed by a US$35 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) with a final maturity of 30 years including a grace period of six years.