WASHINGTON, December 20, 1999 -- World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn today offered support to Venezuela to help respond to the damage caused by floods and mudslides resulting from torrential rains. Wolfensohn said the Bank stood ready to mobilize resources from existing World Bank-supported projects, as well as consider new loans.
In a letter sent today to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Wolfensohn expressed his "deepest concern" about the tragedy, and offered, "my strongest support to you and the Venezuelan people as you confront this catastrophe."
"At this stage, we will concentrate on mobilizing resources of undisbursed balances from existing projects as this will allow for the fastest possible response," Wolfensohn wrote.
The Bank president also noted that his staff has had discussions with the Venezuelan ministers of planning and finance about the possibility of additional World Bank loans, if needed, to support efforts to rehabilitate and rebuild infrastructure, including housing in low-income neighborhoods, roads and highways, and water and sewage systems.
A preliminary assessment of the Bank's undisbursed balance suggests that up to $150 million could be reallocated to respond to flood damage.
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