The World Bank has mobilized an emergency finance package of over $700 million for war-torn Ukraine as the Russian offensive continues unabated. In a statement issued by the global financial body, it said, “The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a supplementary budget support package for Ukraine, called Financing of Recovery from Economic Emergency in Ukraine – or FREE Ukraine – for $489 million.
The package approved by the Board consists of a supplemental loan of $350 million and guarantees of $139 million and is also mobilizing financing of $134 million and parallel financing of $100 million, resulting in total mobilized support of $723 million.”
They added, “The fast-disbursing support will help the government provide critical services to Ukrainian people, including wages for hospital workers, pensions for the elderly, and social programs for the vulnerable.”
With guarantees from the Netherlands for 80 million euros ($89 million equivalent) and Sweden for $50 million, the World Bank’s original contribution was enhanced. The World Bank has also established a multi-donor trust fund (MDTF) to enable the channelling of grant resources from donors to Ukraine, with contributions totalling $134 million so far from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, and Iceland. The World Bank has requested further grant of payments to the MDTF. In addition, Japan is tying the help with a package to a $100 million parallel finance deal.
This included grants by the UK to the tune of $100 million, Denmark to the tune of $22 million, and $12 million by Ukraine’s neighbours Latvia, Lithuania, and Iceland.
The World Bank noted that since the Russian aggression, which started on February 24, 1.7 million Ukrainians – primarily women, children, and elderly – have fled to neighbouring countries.
According to UNICEF, the first bunch of UNICEF humanitarian aid reached Lviv, western Ukraine, from UNICEF’s Global Supply and Logistics Hub in Copenhagen on March 5. “The situation for children and families in Ukraine is increasingly desperate,” said Murat Sahin, UNICEF representative in Ukraine. “These supplies will help provide much-needed support to women, children, and health care workers,” he added.
The supplies include personal protective equipment to protect health workers from COVID-19 as they respond to the critical health needs of children and families, as well as desperately needed medical supplies, including medicine, first aid kits, midwifery kits, surgical equipment, and early childhood and recreational kits.