World Bank approves $500 million for countries affected by the locust invasion

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To battle swarms of desert locusts, the World Bank has sanctioned a record $500 million in grants and low-interest loans to assist nations in the regions of Africa and the Middle East.

In the first phase, Ethiopia will receive $63 million followed by Uganda ($48 million), Kenya ($43 million) and Djibouti ($6 million). The funding will be granted through the International Development Association.

According to the international financial institution’s estimates, the Horn of Africa region is likely to suffer up to $8.5 billion in damage to crop and livestock production by the end of this year.

“Another part of the funds will be used to finance projects aimed at improving the region’s resilience in the medium and long term through the strengthening of monitoring and early warning systems,” Holger Kray, a senior World Bank official, said.

The new World Bank program will also help farmers & rural households in terms of fertilizers, seeds and cash transfers.

It is worth mentioning here that locust swarms have infested more than 20 countries across East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, threatening food supplies and livelihoods in the affected regions.

A locust population spread across an area of one square kilometre can in a day destroy crop meant for over 35,000 people, according to UN’s FAO.

Desert locusts are one of the destructive migratory pests in the world. They primarily feed on any kind of green vegetation, including crops and pasture.