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World Bank Approves $50M to Improve Yemen's Urban Services

World Bank Approves $50M to Improve Yemen's Urban Services

Wednesday, 9 June, 2021 - 05:15
A flooded street after heavy rains in Yemen's Sanaa (FILE/EPA)

The World Bank Board of Directors announced Tuesday a $50 million grant for Yemen for restoring access to critical urban services and strengthening the resilience of selected cities in Yemen to external shocks.

The fund is part of the Yemen Integrated Urban Services Emergency Project (YIUSEP). It targets Yemen’s cities that have been very badly affected by six years of conflict.

Yemeni official sources said Tuesday that the fund aims to provide 600,000 Yemenis with access to rehabilitated water and sanitation, rehabilitate 60 kilometers of urban roads, and restore 39,000-megawatt-hours of electricity capacity.

The project will be implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services in partnership with national institutions and under the supervision of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the sources added.

A World Bank statement said that in January 2020, damage in the 16 cities covered by the World Bank’s Yemen Dynamic Needs Assessment was estimated at between $6.9 billion and $8.5 billion.

It noted that among the 16 cities, Sanaa has suffered the greatest damage, followed by Taiz, Aden, and Hodeidah, which have also been severely affected.

Waed Bathib, Yemen’s Minister for Planning and International Cooperation, said that Yemen’s major roads and bridges have been severely damaged.

Those damages have rendered large segments inaccessible to people and vehicles, with negative impacts on trade, mobility, and access to local services like markets, health facilities, and schools.

Recent floods have also caused extensive damage to urban road networks, as well as to a number of key road corridors considered economic lifelines.

“This project is more necessary than ever. In addition to the devastating impact of the conflict and compounding effects of COVID19, Yemen is vulnerable to floods and other climate-related shocks,” said Tania Meyer, World Bank Country Manager for Yemen.

“Through an integrated approach aimed at building resilience in urban areas, YIUSEP II will support basic services, key corridors, and off-grid power to health and education facilities.”

According to the World Bank, Yemen had one of the lowest per capita levels of electricity consumption—and the lowest level of access to it in the Middle East and North Africa region—before the current conflict worsened in 2015.

Last month, the World Bank had approved a $127 million grant to preserve food security and protect livelihoods in Yemen.

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