Colombia/Emergency: US$150 Million from WB to Help with Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction

The World Bank (WB) today announces the immediate disbursement of US$150 million to support Colombia in the face of the humanitarian emergency the country’s worst rainy season in decades. According to official figures this emergency has already affected more than two million people.

These funds come from a contingency loan, approved on December 18th, 2008, that was intended for disaster risk financing. The government specifically chose theCatastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat DDO) loan, which functions as a line of credit to provide countries with immediate access to financing following a natural disaster.

Cat DDO funds can be disbursed (partially or in full) when the occurrence of a natural disaster leads to the declaration of a state of emergency. The government requested the use of this instrument from the WB as its gives the authorities the flexibility to use the funds only if needed. The Cat DDO complements Colombia’s existing disaster risk management program.

Through the disbursement, “We join the international community’s efforts to address this call for solidarity in favor of millions of Colombian victims,” said Gloria Grandolini, World Bank Director for Mexico and Colombia. “People come first. We agree with the priorities set forth by President Santos: to deliver humanitarian aid first, then emergency care and lastly reconstruction,” she added.

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The Bank’s engagement in the area of disaster risk management seeks to improve risk identification and mitigation, increase prevention, reduce vulnerability to natural disasters, and improve the quality of services delivered by the National Disaster Prevention and Management System. It also seeks to coordinate national efforts to respond to this emergency.

Initiatives focus on delivering a comprehensive service package including advisory services,  knowledge, and the coordination of services in  support of the Colombian government’s initiative to provide swift emergency assistance.

The US$150 million disbursement supports the government in addressing immediate needs. The engagement also seeks to improve prevention, reduce vulnerability to natural disasters, and improve the quality of services delivered by the National Disaster Prevention and Management System.

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