MOGADISHU, Somalia – The international lender, the World Bank, has approved $ 137.5 million for Somalia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, flash floods and the locust plague, he said in a statement, a coup of significant thumb for the Horn of Africa nation.
For months, the war-torn nation has struggled to contain the locusts that sometimes invade in November 2019, causing massive destruction of crops, subjecting the country to an unprecedented food crisis that could expose millions of people to possible deaths.
And amid the locust plague, the floods have also taken their toll in Somalia for almost six months, resulting in several deaths and displacement of people, particularly along the Indian Ocean coastline, authorities said. .
The last city to fight the floods in Beledweyne, in central Somalia, orchestrated by River Shebelle who had broken its banks. Earlier this month, six people died and dozens have disappeared since the floods in the region.
But even more devastating, the country is facing a real crisis following the coronavirus pandemic, which saw more than 1,377 people fight against the virus. According to the Ministry of Health, 55 people have died from the virus since Saturday.
To help the country grapple with the shadow of the civil war and the threat of Al-Shabaab, the World Bank approved the money to protect the vulnerable population. More than 70% of Somalis live in extreme poverty, the lender said in a statement.
A working group, Somalia Crisis Response Project [SCRP] was set up to provide “immediate support” to the areas hardest hit by the crisis by strengthening the government’s systems and capacity to prepare for disasters, the statement added.
Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank country director for Somalia, said aid was essential given the never-ending disasters in Somalia, which is on a “formidable” recovery after decades of inter-clan conflict and violence. endless political squabbles.
“Increasingly frequent and devastating crises are hampering Somalia’s chances of breaking out of a cycle of fragility and poverty. Even as it recovers from drought, Somalia is facing a triple locust shock, flooding and now COVID-19, “he said.
“Thanks to the reform of institutions and public finances led by the government, Somalia now has access to IDA, including the crisis response window, and is able to respond in a timely manner.”
Up to 1.7 million Somalis who are in immediate danger will receive help from the team, especially farmers, displaced people [IDPs] with a special focus on women and children, the World Bank added in a statement.
All those affected by COVID-19, floods and locusts will receive assistance, which will focus on cash transfer services for vulnerable people, aerial spraying of locusts infested areas and hygiene promotion domestic, he added.
The Somali federal government announced that it will send helicopters to locust-infested areas earlier this week. The helicopters will spray pesticides in all affected areas, as well as evacuate those from flood-prone areas to safer terrain, officials said.
Abdirahman Duale Beileh, the country’s finance minister, said the federal government led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo will work closely with regional states to alleviate the crises that threaten millions of people in the impoverished nation.
“The project strengthens the leadership of the federal government of Somalia [FGS] and federal member states to pave the way for a sustainable and resilient recovery from the multiple crises affecting the country as a way to further strengthen the confidence of states and citizens, “he said in a statement.
“FGS sees this project as a key opportunity to effectively address a humanitarian-development transition and lay the groundwork for implementing longer-term investment in the country’s recovery and development.”
This support would go a long way to helping the helpline acquire critical care beds and ventilators, which are fundamental to the fight against COVID-19. Currently, Martini Hospital, which is the only known isolation and treatment facility, is overwhelmed by the increase in cases of coronavirus, officials said.
Infection figures in Somalia have officially surpassed Djibouti which, despite its 1,309 cases, has the lowest mortality rate. Somalia is closely followed by Kenya on the number of deaths which reached 50 on Saturday according to the country’s health department.