The World Bank has approved USD$50 million in grant funding to assist with the drought and famine response, and provide humanitarian aid to Somalia.
The Somalia Emergency Drought Response and Recovery Project (SEDRP) will be coordinated through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the bank said in a statement released Tuesday. The funding represents the first time World Bank has provided financing to the ICRC, a frequent project collaboration partner.
World Bank said the grant funding comes from the International Development Association (IDA) Crisis Response Window, which is targeted for response to severe emergencies. Somalia is not eligible for regular IDA financing because of its international debt woes, but “the Board recognized the pressing humanitarian needs and lessons learned from the 2011 famine in Somalia, which pose an exceptional case to take action to save lives and restore the livelihoods of communities threatened by famine,” World Bank said.
International agencies estimate that some 6.7 million people in Somalia, accounting for more than half of the population, need humanitarian assistance that will include food, water and essential household goods. The funds also will help to deliver cash, livestock and equipment meant for affected Somalis to begin economic recovery.
The World Bank director for Somalia notes that drought and climate are creating pressures that extend beyond the displacement of more than 680,000 people in rural regions in the past six months, or the dearth of safe drinking water that has led to disease outbreaks in 13 of the 18 regions in the country.
“The drought is undermining a fragile period of political, security and development gains in Somalia,” said Bella Bird, director for Somalia as well as Tanzania, Malawi and Burundi. “This is part of a recurrent cycle of climate related shocks keeping millions vulnerable in the Horn of Africa.”
Image: ICRC File/Pedram Yazdi