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Bolivia to improve rain water drainage in La Paz and El Alto with IDB support

Bolivia will upgrade its rain water drainage systems in the cities of La Paz and El Alto with a $30 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), benefiting 16,000 households.

In La Paz alone, with its population of 800,000, the authorities estimate that landslides and floods in the rainy season cost around $27 million a year, including spending for emergencies, clean-up work, rebuilding infrastructure and losses in the private sector.

The projects planned for El Alto will target the culverting in Emisario Avda. Arica and the drainpipe system along Avenida 6 de marzo, and other drainage work that altogether will require a $12.8 million investment. In La Paz, hydraulic work will be done to the tune of $14.3 million in the Irpavi, Achumani, Kellumani and Huayllani rivers.

The direct beneficiaries will be people whose homes are affected by erosion and river bank overflows during the six-month rainy season. In La Paz, more than 2,000 households that are home to 7,100 people will benefit, while in El Alto the figure is 13,600 homes where 47,600 people live.

In La Paz the project will also aid some 34,000 people who every day cross the Calacoto bridge, which is affected by rising waters from the Irpavi river at least three times a year. In El Alto, the work will help some 45,000 people who travel along the La Paz-Oruro road, which diverts traffic toward Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Sucre, Potosí and Tarija and tends to get cut off by flooding.

The program will also allow for the implementation of the Social Consensus and Environmental Education Plan in La Paz and projects to let social organizations take part in solid waste clean-up efforts in the areas targeted by the program.

The financing consists of a $25.5 million loan from the IDB's ordinary capital fund, over 30 years, with a grace period of six years and an interest rate pegged to the LIBOR, and a second loan of $4.5 million from the Fund for Special Operations over 40 years, with a 40-year grace period and an interest rate of 0.25 percent. The local contribution will be $4 million.

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The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.