World Bank greenlights US$66mn for disaster risk management

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The World Bank has greenlighted a US$66mn loan to enhance Panama's capacity to prepare for and respond to catastrophic natural disasters.

The bank will provide the government fast access to financial resources in the aftermath of a major natural disaster, allowing it to complement its own resources and quickly address emergencies and other risk reduction needs, according to a World Bank release.

The program will be implemented by the interior ministry, the national civil protection system and other key ministries.

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"This type of disaster risk management assistance has proved to be an effective tool in providing swift financial resources in the wake of natural disasters in neighboring countries, including Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala," said economy and finance ministry Frank De Lima.

The 15-year loan comes with a three-year grace period.

Panama ranks 14th in the world as most exposed to multiple hazards. The country is located on one of the most seismically active regions on earth, and also experiences intense and long lasting rainfalls, windstorms, floods, droughts, wildfires, landslides, tropical cyclones, and volcanic activity.