The World Bank has announced a $200 million emergency grant to help war-torn Yemen as it struggles to contain a deadly outbreak of cholera.
Funded by the Crisis Response Window of IDA, the bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries, the grant is aimed at strengthening the country’s health, water, and sanitation systems; addressing sources of the outbreak, which has resulted in more than five hundred thousand cases; and improving systems to prevent future outbreaks of the disease. To that end, the grant will fund training for seventy-five hundred health workers, with the goal of bolstering local capacity to treat and manage cholera cases, chlorinate water supplies, support mass communication and social mobilization campaigns, and mount one of the largest-ever cholera vaccine campaigns, with the goal of vaccinating millions of Yemenis against the disease.
The grant also will expand the scope of the bank’s ongoing Emergency Health and Nutrition Project (EHNP), bringing essential health and nutrition services to thirteen million Yemenis and providing access to water and sanitation services to an additional 4.5 million; fund the repair of critical water and sewerage networks; and support efforts to protect and monitor potential sources of the bacterial disease, including water and sanitation systems in urban centers, health facilities, schools, public markets, and other communal gathering places.
“With Yemen suffering the world’s worst cholera outbreak and more than half a million people infected in just the last five months, its people desperately need access to clean water and sanitation, as well as a functioning health system,” said World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva. “The World Bank’s continuing investment in Yemen’s health and water infrastructure is even more critical in a time of conflict because we must respond not just to the immediate crisis but also ensure that, when peace is restored, its people are fit and ready to rebuild their country.”