World Bank pledges up to $1.7 b in flood relief

Raiser hints at new emergency operations to strengthen long-term resilience efforts

By Correspondent

The World Bank has set nearly half a dozen additional conditions for loan disbursement.
The World Bank said on Thursday that it planned to provide flood-related support of up to $1.7 billion through existing and new projects, while financial support of $22.2 million would be provided for the rehabilitation of flood-affected farmers.

World Bank’s Regional Vice President for South Asia Martin Raiser and South Asia Regional Director for Sustainable Development John Roome said that the devastating floods had brought economic misery for the affected people.
“The World Bank plans to provide flood-related support of up to $ 1.7 billion through existing and new projects,” said Raiser, while talking to Power Minister for Engr Khurram Dastgir Khan, said a press release issued here.
“This could be in form of strengthening of social security programmes, new emergency operations to help in rehabilitation and long-term resilience efforts,” Raiser added. He appreciated Pakistan’s policy shift towards renewables as a step in the right direction.
John Roome had a separate meeting with Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema. He told the minister that the bank would provide financial support of $22.2 million for the rehabilitation of flood-affected farmers through a targeted project.

“The World Bank will help Pakistan, in this time of need, through projects targeted to rehabilitate the affected community,” Roome told the minister. “The bank is working with provincial agriculture departments to support the farming community.”
According to the press releases, both sides agreed to support the rehabilitation of the farming community in flood-affected districts and locust-hit areas through the Locust Emergency and Food Security (LEAFS) project of the World Bank.
Roome assured that he would request the World Bank Group Board to increase support for Pakistan to recover from the devastations caused by unprecedented floods. Cheema appreciated the World Bank Group for the assistance, the press release added.
On the occasion, Cheema informed the delegation that rains and floods had devastated the agriculture sector and the farming community. “At this critical time, we are only focused on rehabilitation activities in the flood-affected areas to bring back normalcy,” he added.
Cheema said that in order to support the farmers in flood-affected areas, the National Food Security Ministry planned to subsidise the inputs – seeds and fertiliser – for “the upcoming Rabi season on a cost-sharing basis” with the provinces.
“We plan to provide subsidised wheat and edible oil seeds, and one fertiliser bag per acre to farmers in the calamity-hit areas,” he said, adding that the disbursement would be made through provincial governments and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
“The proposed subsidy may be presented to the federal cabinet soon,” Cheema said, expressing the hope that the “farmers will be able to stand back on their feet after this support”. He said that the government was supporting agriculture departments in every way.
Separately, Cheema directed the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) to prepare a comprehensive plan to deliver the seeds and fertilisers to the flood-affected regions by the end of this month.
He also approved the request of the department to recruit technical staff for surveillance of locust outbreaks and diseases. He warned that the recent floods and rains increased the chances of another locust attack.

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