Kerali, who based in Ghana, is the Bank’s Regional Director responsible for the three countries of Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
He is part of a team of about 20 World Bank Group officials who are presently in Freetown as part of an assessment mission, following the August 14 disaster that claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed properties worth millions of dollars.
Henry Kerali said the Bank’s intervention was in response to the government’s request for support in the recovery efforts. The preliminary result of the damage and losses assessment revealed that the disaster cost the country US$30m, he said.
“This is physical damage to health facilities, education facilities, industry, transport and housing,” he told journalists at a press conference.
Earlier on Friday, the World Bank team which also comprised the country manager, Parmindar Brar, was at State House where a presentation of the findings was made to President Ernest Bai Koroma.
According to the Bank officials, the findings cover disaster-prone areas in the city, and included recommendations which are being looked into by the government for appropriate action.
Meanwhile, the World Bank is increasing its financial support to Sierra Leone by about two-fold. According to Kerali, the Bank has committed to giving Sierra Leone US$312M for the next three years. This is additional to about US$155M previously given to the government.
Almost 50 percent of the funds will be grant and the other half will be soft loans, said the Bank. It added that the credit is repayable over a period of 40 years, with a five-year grace period and an interest rate of about 2.5%.
US$3M is expected to be disbursed immediately for activities in sectors requiring urgent attention, such as education, health and cash transfers for the people seriously affected.