With the aim of restoring people’s livelihoods as soon as possible, the World Bank approved a $180 million loan to support the Islamic Republic of Iran in relieving social and economic hardships caused by two devastating earthquakes last year. The loan will also help reduce the impact of future earthquakes through an effective system of monitoring and management.
The Earthquake Emergency Recovery Project will finance the reconstruction of housing, schools and health clinics as well as public infrastructure such as water and drainage networks, telephone, power, road and electric systems in four northwestern provinces hit by the earthquake.
The project will use a newly developed earthquake-resistant housing model that was developed and tested in Iran. In June 2002, Iran, one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, was struck by an earthquake registering 6.2 on the Richter scale.
About 230 people died and nearly 1,500 were injured. A total of 373 villages and four cities were affected by the earthquake, with more than 33,000 houses destroyed. The Government of Iran estimated damages to be around $257 million. The people most affected were those from low-income communities who live in mud-brick houses with limited means and expertise to build earthquake resistant structures.
Primary and secondary road networks suffered considerable damage, as did transmission lines and water and sewerage systems. The earthquake also caused direct damage to livestock, agricultural crops, deep wells and irrigation systems, rural roads, processing and storage structures.
The Government of Iran responded to the earthquake with a two-phased approach. The first stage involved rescue and relief operations, which was launched immediately after the disaster.
The second stage focused on reconstructing and rehabilitating the affected provinces, in which the Government allocated $40 million for housing credits to residents with severely damaged houses, key infrastructure works, including potable water supply and basic sanitation.
The Government requested the Bank’s support to address their reconstruction priorities which include the restoration of basic infrastructure, potable water, sanitation, electricity and telecommunications and to create economic opportunities to the help people restore their income and revive the local economy.
To support economic recovery, the Earthquake Emergency Recovery Project will finance investments in affected provinces to strengthen the base for local economic development. Another component will help the Government to strengthen their preparedness for future natural disasters through policy reviews, public awareness as well as training and research on earthquakes.
The project falls in line with the World Bank’s strategy for disaster assistance which focuses on helping governments adopt preventive measures to reduce vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters, integrate disaster prevention in development efforts and build a national culture of prevention and preparedness.
Between 1980 and 1999, the Bank lent approximately $8 billion for post-disaster reconstruction. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )