A preliminary World Bank report has put the cost of last month’s landslide and flooding on Sierra Leone’s economy at $30m.
The Damage and Loss Assessment was carried out by experts from the World Bank, UN agencies and consultants, said Mr Henry Kerali, the World Bank Country Director Responsible for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Mr Kerali, who is based in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, was part of a team of the World Bank in Freetown to help the country respond to the August 14 calamity, which has claimed at least 1,000 lives.
The World Bank’s Damage and Loss Assessment was carried out as part of a larger study of Freetown’s environment. It investigated the causes of the landslide, its effect both on the economy and human lives, and the risk of future occurrence of similar disasters.
Mr Kerali said the $30m represented the physical damage to health and education facilities, the industry, transport and housing.
Hundreds of houses were destroyed by the disaster that affected over a dozen communities in and around Freetown. Several of houses were buried at the foot of Mount Sugar Loaf in Regent Town outside the city.
Many other buildings were washed away, several kilometres along a valley in the west end of the city.
The World Bank said it was providing $82m recovery package to be expended on short, medium and long term projects.
The short term projects include the provision of relief for those seriously affected, like reconstruction of foot bridges washed away by the floods.
There was also a plan to provide cash transfers to victims to alleviate their suffering.
The recovery package was contributing to the doubling of the World Bank’s financial aid to Sierra Leone, from about $155m in the last three years, to $312m for next three years.
Some 50 per cent of the money will be in the form of grant while the other half will be “soft loans”, repayable over 40 years, with a five years grace period and an interest rate of about 2.5 per cent.