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Govt creates reconstruction committee; US$161mn to be invested (Guatemala)
Guatemala's President Alvaro Colom has created a special committee to invest the 1.3bn quetzals (US$161mn) approved by congress on September 7 for reconstruction projects following a spate of natural disasters.


The committee, led by the national disaster management office, is formed of representatives of the trade, industry, finance and agriculture sectors. Local government and labor union representatives will also participate, the presidential website reported.


Colom requested that congress approve extra funds for reconstruction last week, after weeks of rain caused flooding and landslides, killing at least 50 people.


The devastation was compounded by damage caused during tropical storms earlier this year, including Agatha and Frank, and more recently Hermine. The eruption of the Pacaya volcano in May also caused localized damage to infrastructure south of Guatemala City.




Of the total reconstruction budget, the communication, infrastructure and housing ministry will receive 530mn quetzals. Some 30mn quetzals will be used to repair the sinkhole that appeared in Guatemala City in July following tropical storm Agatha, and 250mn quetzals will be used for upgrading damaged roads and bridges.


National peace fund Fonapaz will receive 120mn quetzals in total, of which 100mn quetzals has been allocated for repairs to water and sanitation infrastructure. The remaining 20mn quetzals will be used for road projects.


Authorities are also planning to create a transparency commission, which will be responsible for ensuring that the disbursal and investment processes are carried out properly, the report said.

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