By Andrea Shalal and David Lawder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank said on Monday it was making available nearly $200 million in additional and reprogrammed financing to bolster Ukraine’s social services for vulnerable people, in addition to the $723 million approved last week. .
The funding is part of a $3 billion support package the World Bank previously announced it is preparing for Ukraine over the coming months.
World Bank President David Malpass told a virtual event hosted by the Washington Post that the bank hopes to finalize the $3 billion support package within six to eight weeks to help Ukraine cover its needs.
“The magnitudes are astronomical,” Malpass said. “Ukraine has been hit by the economic downturn itself, the crops that are in the fields – hard to harvest.” He said Russian forces were trying to deprive Ukrainian farmers of food and money.
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“It’s a tough, horrific effort that’s happening almost day in and day out,” he said, adding that the rebuilding effort would involve highways, bridges and other major infrastructure.
“That’s tens of billions of dollars,” he said.
To help Ukraine now, the bank was bringing “as much money as possible”, Malpass said, adding that it would also start building a pipeline of projects to help Ukrainians, some of whom now lived in Poland and elsewhere, in part of the $3 billion package.
“Our immediate focus right now…is how do we help people who are under attack right now?”
The World Bank said the combined total of support already approved for Ukraine was around $925 million.
He said Austria had provided 10 million euros ($11 million) to a multi-donor trust fund set up by the World Bank to help channel donor grants to Ukraine. This brought the total amount of the fund to $145 million, the bank said.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder; Editing by Tim Ahmann)
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