World Bank says ready to mobilize financing for Lebanon blast recovery

The World Bank Group said on Wednesday it is ready to support Lebanon assessing damages and recovery after the Beirut port explosion assisting the help mobilizing public and private financing for reconstruction.

 World Bank Group headquarters building in Washington, D.C. (by APK, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

A World Bank statement also added that it “would be also willing to reprogram existing resources and explore additional financing to support rebuilding lives and livelihoods of people impacted by this disaster”.

At the moment the Bank did not specify where the resources will come from to support the recovery. In June, the Bank announced a re-allocation of $40 million from the $120 million health program for coronavirus pandemic in Lebanon.

The number of people killed is 135 in Tuesday’s explosion at Beirut port while 5,000 were injured, with up to 250,000 without homes due to the damages of the shockwaves to the building facades.

It is unclear the effect of the disaster on Lebanon’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. Since May, the IMF and Lebanon have been trying to define a bailout package in the light of the financial crisis.

The scale of financial losses in Lebanon’s banking system was the reason of the impasse in the talks. However the Fund did not comment officially the disaster, but the Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva expressed her “deep sadness for the loss of lives, the injuries and the devastation” resulting from the explosion.

“Lebanon’s macro and debt situation will add to the overall urgency for international support,” said Scott Morris, a former U.S. Treasury international development official, to Reuters. “That said, it is highly unlikely that donor responses would serve as an alternative to reaching agreement with the IMF on a bailout”.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday underlined a “steadfast” commitment to help Lebanon population.

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