WASHINGTON, May 7, 2015 – Following floods that devastated Malawi in January 2015, the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$80 million to help the country reconstruct critical public infrastructure, restore agricultural livelihoods, enhance food security, and improve the Government of Malawi’s disaster response and recovery capacities.
The financing has been provided under the International Development Association’s (IDA*) Crisis Response Window in equal amounts of a credit and a loan for the Malawi Floods Emergency Recovery Project (MFERP) which will run for four years. The floods across half of Malawi’s 28 districts, affected 12 sectors whose recovery and reconstruction needs are estimated at US$494 million, according to a draft report of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment done by the Government and its Partners. Excluding private housing which constitutes about 35% of the overall recovery needs, transport poses the single largest recovery needs (at 21 percent), followed by agriculture (at 16 percent) and water and sanitation (at 12 percent).
“The Bank’s intervention is an urgent response to a distress call by the Government in view of the large number of people whose livelihoods were severely affected by floods through destroyed crops, houses, schools, clinics, roads and bridges,” says Laura Kullenberg, the Bank’s Country Manager for Malawi. She adds that in view of the emergency nature of the response, the Bank and the Government have agreed to implement the project through the secretariat of the Irrigation, Rural Livelihoods, and Agricultural Development (IRLAD) Project which is already well-positioned to handle livelihood and infrastructure issues. IRLADP will close in June 2015 and the secretariat will transition into a dedicated implementation unit for the floods project.
More than half of the amount ($43million) will support rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure in the flood-affected districts to disaster resilient standards. The infrastructure includes secondary roads, schools, health facilities, small-scale irrigation facilities, riverbank protection, and water supply schemes. The second largest amount of US$29 million will go towards livelihoods restoration and food security. For livelihoods, families will participate in an Input-for-Assets (IFA) based labor-intensive community infrastructure repair scheme that will enable beneficiaries to get farm inputs for the next season. The livelihoods component of the project also includes a limited cash-for-work option for those who wish to earn an income to meet their basic requirements instead of availing the IFA option.
On food security the financing will also help restock the Government’s strategic grain reserves with about 50,000MT at an estimated cost of US$15 million. “We anticipate that about 200,000 households could be in need of food assistance for part or all of next year, so the Bank support will help Government replenish stocks when some is released to the flood affected people,” says Honourable Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development. He adds, “The restocking financing will not only enhance the country’s food security, but also inject much needed fiscal stability by helping free up resources for the Government to invest in other recovery interventions and developmental activities.”
The Bank’s co-leaders of the project Ayaz Parvez and Francis Nkoka add that the remaining US$8million will be used to promote disaster resilience and program management. This will include strengthening the institutional framework and operational capacities of the Department of Disaster Management Affairs for post-disaster response and recovery. Other Government departments and ministries will also get technical assistance to develop and institutionalize disaster and climate-resilient design standards for infrastructure construction in the future.
Earlier in the year soon after the floods occurred, the Bank also provided emergency relief of US$600,000 for activities that facilitated opening up access to flooded areas such as temporary bridges and the related required logistical support. The funds were provided through the emergency response window of IRLADP.