Saturday, September 5, 2020

World Bank cancels loan for Lebanon dam, cites environmental concerns


The World Bank on Friday said it was canceling a loan to fund a dam in Lebanon that environmentalists claimed could destroy a valley rich in biodiversity.

The Bisri Dam was partially suspended in June after the Washington -based development lender said it raised concerns about the project ’ s implementation, and given the government of Lebanon until September 4 to finalize key agreements related to operations and maintenance as well as the environment.

In a statement , the World Bank said it had notified the government that it was withdrawing its financing “ due to non -completion of the tasks that are preconditions to the commencement of construction."

“ The canceled portion of the loan is $244 million and the cancelation is effective immediately, ” the bank said .

Located in a valley 30 kilometres ( 20 miles) south of the capital , the dam aims to supply drinking water as well as irrigation for 1. 6 million residents.

Environmentalists and some farmers disputed assurances from the government and World Bank that the dam to be built on a seismic fault line does not increase the risk of earthquakes .

( AFP)

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