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PRESS RELEASE May 15, 2020

World Bank Approves $137.5 Million for Somalia’s Response to COVID-19, Floods, and Drought

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2020 — The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a $137.5 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to help Somalia respond to and recover from multiple, ongoing, and overlapping crises.

With repeated cycles of flooding and drought over many years, swarms of desert locusts threatening food security, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, Somalia is in the grip of a climate – and now public health – emergency, which is only compounded by two decades of armed conflict, all of which are having a devastating effect on the lives and livelihoods of the Somalian people, 70% of whom are poor. 

The Somalia Crisis Response Project (SCRP) will provide immediate support to the areas hardest hit by these crises by supporting the recovery of livelihoods and infrastructure in flood and drought affected areas and will also strengthen Government’s systems and capacity for disaster preparedness.

“Increasingly frequent and devastating crises are impeding Somalia’s chances of breaking out of a cycle of fragility and poverty. Even as it recovers from drought, Somalia faces a triple shock of locust, flooding, and now COVID-19,” said World Bank Country Director for Somalia, Felipe Jaramillo. “Thanks to Government-led reform of institutions and public finance, Somalia now has access to IDA, including the Crisis Response Window, and is able to respond in a timely manner.”

The Project’s immediate response will benefit up to 1.7 million Somalis – particularly the most vulnerable populations, farming communities, Internally Displaced Peoples, rural and urban communities, and host communities with a strong focus on female-headed households – affected by locusts and flooding.  The Project will provide basic services and livelihood support, including:

  • establishing a cash-for-work scheme for vulnerable households;
  • controlling the desert locus population through ground and aerial spraying operations and surveillance;
  • restoring and protecting farmers’ capacity for agricultural production; and
  • promoting household hygiene and methods of treatment.

In addressing medium-term flood recovery, the Project will rehabilitate water and sanitation systems, broken or non-functioning flood control systems (such as embankments, drainage, and irrigation canals), health facilities, bridges, and smaller roads.

Responding to the government’s urgent request for additional financing, the SCRP also includes a $20.5 million emergency investment in COVID response. Immediate prevention and containment measures include risk communication, surveillance, and contact tracing, together with the procurement of medical equipment and supplies. The Project will also support national capacity for severe case management, enhanced laboratory testing capacity, and an Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System. This adds up to a holistic multi-ministerial government-led approach to prevention and treatment.

Looking ahead, SCRP will contribute to a more durable solution to repeated natural disasters through investments in critical infrastructure rehabilitation to build-back-better standards, as well as building government capacity for longer-term disaster preparedness and community engagement. The Project will ensure women’s inclusion and participation in decision-making bodies, including participation in the development of the integrated community preparedness, adaptation, and response plans.  Investments will be made in integrated flood and drought preparedness and flood risk management, as well as the setting up of a well-resourced National Emergency Operations Center under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister.

“The Project reinforces the leadership of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States towards ushering in sustainable and resilient recovery from the multiple crises afflicting the country as a means of further strengthening state-citizen trust,” said Dr. Abdirahman Beileh, Minister of Finance“FGS sees this project as a key opportunity for effectively addressing a humanitarian-developmental transition and laying the foundation for the implementation of a longer-term investment in the recovery and development of the country.”

The Project aims to mount a single, coordinated, flexible and harmonized multi-sectoral approach and has been designed following an inclusive multi-stakeholder and multi-partner process.

The World Bank’s recovery contribution to Somalia is partly funded through the IDA Crisis Response Window, as well as contribution from the global COVID-19 facility.



Vera Rosauer
(254-20) 293-6811