KABUL (Pajhwok): The World Bank has approved a grant of $97.50 million to provide regular cash support to the Afghans affected by droughts and COVID-19 and improve food and nutrition security.
Approved by the World Bank’s Board of Governors, the grant from the International Development Association (IDA) would help build Afghanistan’s drought early warning and response systems.
A statement from the World Bank said the grant would help finance the Drought Early Warning, Early Finance and Early Action Project (ENETAWF).
The project will complement regular humanitarian relief efforts and provide unconditional cash support for-work benefits to about 2.2 million Afghans in the 78 districts most affected by food insecurity and drought.
It will give targeted financial assistance to households to build resilience and scale up support across the country before and during droughts. It will also support the Afghan government to deliver critical weather, water and climate information services, disseminate early warnings, and strengthen disaster preparedness within communities.
The IDA grant complements grants of $115 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, plus $8 million from the Global Risk Financing Facility and $2 million from the programme for Asia Resilience to Climate Change Multi-donor Trust Fund.
Henry Kerali, the World Bank country director, said: “Afghanistan is one of the countries most affected and vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters and its weak response system has further contributed to this vulnerability.”
He added: “This new financial assistance will help the Government of Afghanistan lessen drought impacts that have displaced millions of Afghans and pushed them into poverty. The project’s support to Afghan rural households will contribute to overall poverty reduction and economic recovery.”
The project will be executed by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, under which the National Emergency Operations Centre in the disaster management agency will be strengthened.
In addition, a Disaster Risk Management Resource Centre will be established at the ministry.