World Bank Offers 300 Million Dollars to India
The World Bank on Monday offered 300 million dollars to help India recover from a massive earthquake that cut a swathe of destruction across the western state of Gujarat and left an estimated 20,000 dead.
The World Bank said in a statement that within six months it also would put together a longer-term assistance plan in consultation with the Gujarat state government.
James D. Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank said that the earthquake was a "human tragedy of horrible proportions."
"Our hearts go out to the thousands of people who have lost so much in a matter of seconds and we will continue to stand by the government and people of India as it seeks to clear the rubble of this devastating event," said Wolfensohn.
Indian Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Sunday sought a 1.5-billion-dollar loan from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to help the country recover from its worst earthquake in five decades.
New Delhi instructed Indian officials in Washington to approach the World Bank for one billion dollars and the Asian Development Bank in Manila for 500 million dollars to rebuild the devastated state.
"The devastation of the quake is extensive and resources need to be mobilised," Sinha said.
The finance minister also said India's foreign exchange norms would be amended to attract global donations and the two state-run insurance firms, Life Insurance Corp. and General Insurance Corp. would settle claims "immediately."
The earthquake, which was measured at 7.9 on the Richter scale by the U.S. Geological Survey, struck Friday morning on India's Republic Day.
Gujarat, which is in an earthquake-prone zone, has a population of around 42 million and is one of India's most prosperous and industrialized states -- NEW DELHI (AFP)
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