WASHINGTON, 2 November, 2010-The World Bank today approved financing totaling US$11.8 million to support the reconstruction of vital infrastructure in Samoa following the devastating tsunami that hit the country in September 2009.

The Post-Tsunami Reconstruction Project will support the relocation and rehabilitation of communities on the island of Upolu affected by the tsunami by providing new access roads and rebuilding damaged roads and sea walls.

"Samoa is extremely susceptible to disasters like this tsunami which devastated homes, families and businesses," says Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea & Pacific Islands. "We are here for the long-haul to help the Government of Samoa rebuild affected communities and reduce vulnerability to future natural disasters."

The tsunami caused an estimated US$124 million worth of damage and loss to Samoa. Around 5,274 people lost their homes, with many families forced to relocate inland. Critical infrastructure was also hit hard, with coastal roads and sea walls badly damaged.

The World Bank's reconstruction efforts in Samoa will improve the livelihoods of relocated communities by providing better transport, improved access to schools, hospitals and markets and greater access to agricultural activities to support income generation. It will also help build long-term resilience to ensure the country is better prepared to cope with future disasters.

The project will be financed by a US$10 million International Development Association concessional loan and a US$1.8 million Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility grant.