By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) - The safety of students, teachers and staff in selected schools in high-risk seismic zones in Turkey will be improved through a €267.6 million ($302 million) project, the World Bank Group said on late Thursday.
The project will complement the government’s existing investment program focused on building resilience into education infrastructure and financing interventions targeting the most vulnerable schools in high risk seismic hazard zones.
"Since 2015, the ministry of national education has undertaken vulnerability assessments of around 4,700 priority schools.
"Preliminary results indicate that retrofitting or reconstruction is required in the majority of those schools," the group said in the statement.
Turkey Disaster Risk Management in Schools Project will provide funds to make 350 schools more resilient to seismic activity, making it safer for 280,000 staff and students.
World Bank Country Director for Turkey Auguste Kouame pointed out that the country is vulnerable to the effects of earthquakes, landslides, and floods.
“The World Bank is very happy to be a part of the government’s efforts to reduce the risk that students and teachers face from natural disasters," Kouame said.
He said the project is part of a broader government program and hoped that it will encourage addition investments in this regard for other parts of the country.
The project will be rolled out over the next decade, funding through the group's body of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
The group noted that the first phase has a 10 and a half years repayment period, including a 5-year grace period.