Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

World Bank Reports Toll of Public Projects on Rural Poor

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

World Bank Reports Toll of Public Projects on Rural Poor

Article excerpt

DAMS, roads, power stations, and other big public works projects uproot more than 10 million people in the developing world every year. Many involuntary refugees are stripped of all land and prospects, and become the poorest of the poor, according to a new World Bank study.

Major infrastructure improvements often provide much needed services to third-world countries. More than 2 billion people around the globe do not have electricity; billions more have no sewers or clean running water.

But most plans need to consider those in the projects' paths, the World Bank says. Bank officials are urging the adoption of national resettlement policies to help minimize hardship.

"We want to turn the searchlight on these forgotten people," says Ismail Serageldin, a World Bank vice president. "In many places, governments have bulldozed shantytowns without adequate compensation at all."

Redesigning projects can greatly ease the resettlement impact. In Indonesia, for instance, the Saguling Dam was lowered by 5 meters (16. …

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