World Bank Approves 63 Mn USD to Help Ethiopia Manage Desert Locust Threat

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Addis Ababa, May 22/2020( ENA) The World Bank has approved 63 million USD to help Ethiopia prevent and respond to threats to livelihoods posed by the desert locust outbreak and to strengthen national and regional systems for preparedness

Board of Executive Directors of World Bank  approved the financing as 31.5 million USD grant and 31.5 million USD credit from the International Development Association(IDA), according to a press release of the Bank.

The current locust invasion, which is the worst in decades, may undermine development gains and threaten the food security and livelihoods of millions of Ethiopians. Between January and March 2020 alone, the invasion affected over 156 woredas (districts) across 6 regional states.

The swarms, which have devastated nearly 1.5 million hectares of land, have so far cost Ethiopia an estimated 43.2 million USD due to loss of staple crops and livestock, it was revealed.

World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Sudan, Carolyn Turk said “if not managed efficiently, desert locusts can have a dire impact on a country like Ethiopia where millions rely on agricultural livelihoods in locust-infested areas.”

This latest program will provide fast support to help ensure the livelihood of the most vulnerable are protected and adequate systems are put in place to manage further outbreaks, she added.

The Emergency Locust Response Program will help Ethiopia to monitor and manage locust population growth and curb the spread of swarms while mitigating the risks associated with locust management measures.

It will also help to protect livelihoods of locust-affected households to prevent asset loss, and return them to productivity and prevent future locust upsurges by strengthening capacity for surveillance and locust management operations to facilitate early warning and early response, the presser stated.

World Bank Task Team Leader, Vikas Choudhary said “the Government of Ethiopia has been working hard to manage the infestation and minimize damages.”

Choudhary, however, noted that the country faces capacity constraints and will need to enhance surveillance and locust management measures in order to keep pace with the rapidly changing situations with increased rates of invading swarms.