WASHINGTON, March 15 — The World Bank on Monday announced it was making available nearly US$200 million (RM841 million) in additional and reprogrammed financing to bolster Ukraine’s social services for vulnerable people, on top of US$723 million approved last week.

The financing is part of a US$3 billion package of support 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 hoped to finalise the US$3 billion package of support within six to eight weeks to help Ukraine cover its needs.

“The magnitudes are astronomical,” Malpass said. “Ukraine has been hit by the economic slowdown itself, the crops that are in the fields — difficult to harvest them.” He said Russian forces were trying to cut off Ukrainian farmers from both food and cash.

“It’s a harsh and horrifying effort that’s going on almost day by day,” he said, adding that the rebuilding effort would involve highways, bridges and other major infrastructure.

“That amounts to tens of billions of dollars,” he said.

To help Ukraine now, the bank was bringing forward “as much cash as we can,” Malpass said, adding that it would also begin building a pipeline of projects to help Ukrainians, some of whom were now living in Poland and elsewhere, as part of the US$3 billion package.

“Our immediate focus right now ... is how do we help the people that are under attack at the moment?”

The World Bank said the combined total of support already approved for Ukraine stood at around US$925 million.

It said Austria had provided €10 million for a multi-donor trust fund set up by the World Bank to facilitate channeling grant resources from donors to Ukraine. That brought the total amount in the fund to US$145 million, the bank said. — Reuters