The World Bank Group and the Government of Liberian (GOL) have signed a US$115 million additional financing grant in support of the Ebola Emergency Response Project (EERP) for Liberia. The money will go directly to the health sector in support of Liberia’s model of scaling up community care centers (CCCs), social mobilization and active case search. It will also support rapid response teams and laboratories, medical waste management, training and health workers’ hazard pay and the deployment of qualified foreign health workers to help Liberian medical staff fight Ebola and restore essential health services across the country. The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) in Monrovia on Monday, November 24, with the World Bank Country Manager, Ms. Inguna Dobraja, declaring that these grant resources will support the Liberian government to achieve zero cases of Ebola. “Zero cases must be our goal,” said the World Bank Country Manager who signed the agreement on behalf of the Bank. “Although we have seen decline in the number of cases in Liberia, the epidemic is far from over. We need to be fast and dynamic in order to achieve zero Ebola virus disease (EVD); be flexible and adapt our response to changing conditions on the ground.” Ms. Inguna warned “Ebola is not a disease where you can leave a few cases and say we have done enough. No! We cannot slow down the response.” The US$115 million grant agreement penned on Monday is in addition to a US$52 million grant provided to the government by the World Bank few weeks ago bringing the Bank’s total grant support directly to the Liberian government to fight the Ebola epidemic to US$167 million. Ms. Inguna assured the Liberian government of the Bank’s continuing commitment to support the fight against the Ebola epidemic and in the recovery efforts once the outbreak is totally defeated. She also reminded the government to make sure that Liberians do not die from malaria, typhoid and other curable sicknesses despite the intense focus on the Ebola virus outbreak. “The direct impact of the crisis has wiped out hard-earned development gains and many Liberians have lost their livelihoods,” said Ms. Inguna. “We need to support the most vulnerable, especially the Ebola-affected families, get children back to school and farmers back to their fields.” In response, Liberia’s FDP Minister Amara M. Konneh thanked the World Bank Group, particularly President Jim Yong Kim, for the direct support to the government in the fight against the EVD. Minister Konneh declared the US$115 million grant by the World Bank is the second trench of support the Bank is giving to the Liberian government, the first being the US$52 million grant given to the government few weeks ago. “We are more grateful to the World Bank Group, which happens to be the largest donor to the government thus far in the fight against the EVD,” said Minister Konneh. “We [government] will use portion of the money to reopen our clinics and hospitals across the country both public and private. We will also use some of this grant to support our communities because they took charge of themselves and are still doing so in absence of the government and other health institutions,” he added.According to Minister Konneh, the US$115 million will contribute to the control of the Ebola virus disease in the country including psychosocial supports, amongst others.He recalled how the Liberian government had difficulties in handling the EVD outbreak few months ago, but noted that today is a new era where the government has identified the causes of Ebola and how to tackle it.The Liberian Finance Minister underscored the importance of the latest World Bank support as it will help restore basic health services across the country. “We are not going be satisfied until all of our health services are reopened even though the Health Ministry is already reopening hospitals and clinics gradually,” he added.Mr. Konneh warned the public that the EVD outbreak is not over yet despite the decline in the spread of the virus. He praised the Bank’s Country Manager for her strong support in acquiring the fresh financing to fight the EVD.Earlier, Deputy Health Minister for Administration, Mr. Matthew T. K. Flomo, who witnessed the signing ceremony thanked the World Bank for the huge direct support to the Ministry of Health for Ebola response. Minister Flomo also thanked Minister Konneh for lobbying for the grant resources and said the money will help strengthen and improve the sector.On November 18, 2014, the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$285 million grant to finance Ebola-containment efforts underway in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Bank announced that the money would be used to help communities in the three countries cope with the socioeconomic impact of the crisis and rebuild and strengthen essential health services. The grant is part of the nearly US$1 billion previously announced by the World Bank Group for the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis.The grant provides additional financing to the Ebola Emergency Response Project (EERP) approved by the WBG’s Board on September 16, 2014, including US$72 million for Guinea, US$115 million for Liberia and US$98 million for Sierra Leone, the three countries most-affected by Ebola.The announcement by the Bank brings the total financing approved so far from the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) Crisis Response Window (CRW) for the Ebola response to US$390 million. The CRW is designed to help low-income IDA countries recover from severe disasters and crises. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Corentyne rice infestation…says over 3000 acres infestedNand Persaud and Company Limited has blasted the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) for saying that there has been no outbreak of the worm associated with the water weevil on the Corentyne.Following a report carried by Guyana Times that rice farmers on the Corentyne are experiencing strange growth and pests in their fields, as some rice is being attacked by worms and flies, the GRDB said that it was not true.According to the GRDB, a visit to the area revealed that there is no outbreak of the worm associated with the water weevil as reported. The State rice entity statedFrustrated Alan Goolcharran of Number 52 Villagethat the pest was only found in one farmer’s field in the area.However, Nand Persaud and Company Limited, one of the largest rice mills in Berbice, on Tuesday said the presence of the pest was characterised by stunted plant growth and yellowing of leaves. These signs often cause confusion among rice farmers who mistakenly believe that there is a nutrient deficiency problem.“Several farmers contacted Nand Persaud and Company Limited on the infestation issue and have benefited from intense investigative field visits and follow-up plans conducted by their agronomist. This has resulted from significant recoveries made from the fields treated and arduous efforts are currently in progress to bring the pest infestation under control,” the rice milling company said.When this publication first published the article, one farmer stated that he was advised by the GRDB to use Matador to control the worms which were found on the roots of the rice plants.In its release dated March 9, the GRDB listed seven chemicals, including Matador, to be used to deal with the pest.However, Nand Persaud and Company Limited has strongly objected to this. According to the company, the rice farmers should not utilise the pesticide Matador for the treatment of this pest or paddy bugs since it has been found to escalate the problem.“The Plant Hopper is known to transmit a virus called Hoja Blanca which can result in 25-50 per cent loss in yield if the problem is not identified and treated early. The Extension Department of Nand Persaud wishes to extend its continuous support to farmers in the fight against this potentially dangerous pest,” the milling company said. One farmer who Nand Persaud highlighted, Alan Goolcharran, of Number 52 Village, Corentyne, whose cultivation comprise approximately 40 acres of rice, is likely to lose more than 20 per cent in yield if the situation is not brought under control.Recently, brightly coloured leaves were observed on some of the paddy plants.According to some farmers, their fields have experienced stunted growth over the past month. One of the affected farmers is former Rice Producers Association (RPA) Extension Officer Ramlakhan Singh, who farms at Number 56 Village.He explained that they have been investigating and it was some of the labourers who made the startling discovery: strange worms at the root of the plants.But there is a second problem – one that is more complicated affecting the rice. Large-scale infestation of what appears to be flies has been seen by some rice farmers. There were a similar attack two crops ago and rice production was low in the affected areas. Following the publication of the GRBD’s release, some Corentyne rice farmers exposed the poor service being offered to Corentyne rice farmers by GRDB’s extension officers. They claimed that three weeks ago, reports were made to the GRDB about the infestation and the officer engaged a few farmers afterward and provided advice. Those farmers say the extension officer might have been in trouble had the team visited the affected farms.“They advised a few farmers and the team went to those farms and so they would not find any worms because the officers told the farmers what to do…” (Andrew Carmichael)
Burak Yilmaz 1 Guangzhou Evergrande are lining up a bumper offer to take Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea target Burak Yilmaz to China.All three Premier League clubs have held a long-term interest in the free-scoring Galatasaray star, who has hit 47 league goals in 74 appearances since arriving from Trabzonspor in 2011 – as well as 10 goals in 21 Champions League outings.But now, according to Turkish newspaper Fotospor, Evergrande have made him their priority target and could be willing to double his current salary to tempt him to the far east.Former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro is currently the manager of the Chinese side and it has been reported that he has earmarked Yilmaz as the man he wants to lead the line.That could encourage Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea to reignite their interest in time for the January transfer window despite the forward having four years left on his contract.