The World Bank has approved $137 million to bolster Somalia’s fight against COVID19, response to drought and floods.

The Bank said Saturday it approved the funding in light of the ongoing fight against COVID19 coupled with drought and floods.

“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,” the World Bank said in a statement.f

The Bank noted the funds under 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.

World Bank country director Felipe Jaramillo said perennial crises were hindering Somalia’s war against poverty but noted the recent resumption of relations with international financial institutions was now enabling the country to access development funds.

“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 Jaramillo.

The global lender said $20.5 million of the approved funds will be channeled to fighting COVID19.

This will cover Immediate prevention and containment measures include risk communication, surveillance, and contact tracing, together with the procurement of medical equipment and supplies.

Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh said the funding was instrumental in building the country’s resilience and long term capacity to address emerging challenges.

“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,” said Beileh.

Somalia has so far recorded the highest number of COVID19 cases in the East Africa region rising to over 1200.

Over 300,000 people have been displaced by floods while a total of 850,000 have been affected.