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Flood plan for Venezuela

December 19, 2000, 09:20 CET

A Statoil-backed flood prevention plan was presented last week to Venezuelan deputy environment minister Alejandro Hitcher.

Prepared by the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), the work has been financed by Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Statoil.

It was sparked by the floods and landslides which hit Venezuela in December 1999, when 30-50,000 people died.

A specialist in assessing landslip risk and slope stability, the NGI has devoted almost NOK 2 million to site inspections and study work.

Its plan covers flood prevention for the Mamo river north-west of the capital, Caracas, one of the worst-hit areas last year.

A number of security measures are proposed by the NGI so that people living along the river can be safeguarded from a new disaster.

The plan will now be considered by the environment ministry and the Vargas state authorities, reports Berit Øyen, public affairs manager in Statoil Venezuela.

If its proposals are accepted, development work will last for about two years.

The prevention measures are expected to cost NOK 200-400 million, which will be met through a combination of direct support and credits from international institutions in connection with the floods.