World Bank approves funds to improve Haiti’s infrastructure and disaster resilience

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The World Bank has approved US$120 million in grant financing for the Resilient Connectivity and Urban Transport Accessibility Project in Haiti.

The Bank also approved additional financing of $11 million for the Haiti Disaster Risk Management and Climate Resilience Strengthening Project.

The Washington-based financial institution said the infrastructure grant will improve rural connectivity in the southern peninsula and improve climate-resilient urban mobility in Cap-Haitien, while building institutional capacity in the urban transport sector.

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He said the disaster risk management project will increase the emergency response and evacuation capacity of some municipalities in high climate risk areas.

“The combined effects of exposure to seismic risk and extreme weather events, and the high level of environmental degradation, are key drivers of fragility, partly responsible for reversing the meager socio-economic progress of the decade,” said Laurent Msellati, World Bank Country Manager. Responsible for Haiti.

The World Bank has stated that urban transport in Haiti is a major limiting factor for access to economic activities, development and economic growth.

He said congestion levels are severe in several major cities, mainly due to a combination of poor road infrastructure conditions; suboptimal use of public street space; frequent weather-related disruptions and an unregulated public transport system, which contribute to limiting accessibility and lengthening travel times.

Meanwhile, the World Bank said that while recent efforts to improve the road network have increased intercity connectivity, 50% of the national territory remains poorly connected and some areas are totally isolated for days during the rainy season, which often accompanied by major storms. and hurricanes.

He said the recent earthquake in August 2021 damaged more than 850 kilometers of primary and secondary roads in the southern region, resulting in damages in the transport sector of up to 160 million dollars and leaving more than 450,000 people isolated.

He indicated that the project will also support the modernization and professionalization of public transport services in the targeted regions.

“As climate change is expected to increase the frequency, intensity and impact of extreme weather events, an effective early warning system to warn citizens to prepare and be ready to evacuate in extreme weather events could reduce the impact of these shocks.”

The Bank said that between 1972 and 2022, Haiti has been hit by more than 110 disasters, adding that the upcoming hurricane season in the Caribbean region is expected to be above average, with 14 to 21 named storms, including three in six major hurricanes.

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