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PRESS RELEASE May 21, 2020

US$6.6 Million to Help Djibouti Respond to the Threat Posed by the Locust Outbreak

Washington, May 21, 2020 — The World Bank announced today US$6 million in new funding from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s arm for the poorest countries, to help Djibouti address the threat posed by the locust outbreak and strengthen its preparedness systems. The financing is part of the Emergency Locust Response Program, a regional operation focusing on helping farmers, pastoralists and rural households recover from the impacts of the largest locust plagues in decades.

The operation aims to improve desert locust surveillance and control measures while mitigating impacts on human health and the environment; protect and restore the livelihoods of affected communities; and prevent future outbreaks by strengthening institutional and community capacity and regional coordination to facilitate early warning and early response.

"Locust plagues can be difficult to control in normal circumstances, the COVID-19 crisis makes our response even more challenging," said Mohamed Ahmed Awaleh, Minister of Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, Livestock and Halieutic Resources. "Our priority is to help affected communities meet their immediate needs and rehabilitate food production and livelihood systems to safeguard physical and human capital assets."

The new funding complements a previous reallocation of US$600,000 through a Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) under the Towards Zero Stunting in Djibouti Project.

"The World Bank is moving quickly to provide flexible support to countries affected by the outbreak," said Boubacar-Sid Barry, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti. "This operation supports Djibouti’s response to get communities back on their feet, while strengthening surveillance and early warning systems to mitigate the threat of future outbreaks."

Key activities include targeted locust control, providing equipment and technical capacity in the five regions affected by desert locust invasions (Arta, Dikhil, Ali-Sabieh, Tadjourah and Obock) and training field teams in swarm management and equipment handling. The program will provide emergency income to vulnerable households through the Programme National de Solidarité Famille (PNSF), the cash transfer program of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Solidarity (MASS). The program will also support community engagement to raise awareness of the impact of the locust swarms and the response efforts to build resilience going forward.

"Locust swarms are wiping out crops and damaging farms, putting food security and livelihoods at stake," said Mohamed Medouar, Senior Agriculture Specialist and Task Team Leader. "It is critical to act now to prevent further devastation. The program will help hard-hit farmers and pastoralists cope with the impacts of the locust damage and restart their economic activities.

The World Bank’s portfolio in Djibouti consists of 13 IDA-funded projects totaling US$184 million. The portfolio is focused on education, health, social safety nets, energy, rural community development, urban poverty reduction, modernization of public administration, governance and private sector development, with emphasis on women and youth.

World Bank Group Locust Response:

The World Bank Group is mobilizing a US$500 million program of emergency financing, complemented by policy advice and technical assistance, to support countries affected by the locust outbreak. The program seeks to help households and communities safeguard their livelihoods and cope with the economic impacts of locust damage on crops, livestock, and related assets, as well as strengthen national systems for preparedness.


In Washington:
Isabelle Poupaert
In Djibouti:
Kadar Mouhoumed Omar