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El Salvador to reduce vulnerability of slums to natural disasters with help from the IDB

$50 million loan will also finance expanded basic services and social programs in San Salvador neighborhoods

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan for $50 million to El Salvador for a project to reduce the vulnerability of residents in slums in the San Salvador Metropolitan Area (AMSS, for its initials in Spanish) to floods and landslides, and improve their living conditions.

The capital region has 514 settlements with poor access to adequate sanitation, drinking water, or electricity. Of these, 93 are highly vulnerable to floods or landslides because houses have been built on river banks and steep hillsides.

The IDB-funded program, which will be carried out by the Ministry of Public Works, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, will invest in infrastructure to mitigate those risks and improve access to basic services.

"The program also includes improvements in social services to provide greater access to health and early childhood development and, where necessary, facilitate the relocation of families to less vulnerable areas," said Luis Tejerina, IDB project team leader.

Program resources will finance flood buffers and river channeling. Additional investments will provide communities with water, sewerage services, electricity, and drainage.

The program will also finance diagnostic and modeling hydraulic studies needed for the creation of a master drainage plan in coordination with the Office of Planning of AMSS, which was created by the council of mayors representing 14 municipalities in the capital region.

The loan was extended for 25 years with a grace period of five years and variable interest rate based on LIBOR.

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