UN updates COVID-19 humanitarian response appeal

The UN has released an updated COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan that requires $10.3 billion to help fragile countries cope with the ongoing pandemic.

UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, who launched the new appeal on Thursday, asked wealthy nations to do more, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The response of wealthy nations, who have thrown out the rulebook to protect their people and economies, has been grossly inadequate. This inaction is dangerously short-sighted. It will leave the virus free to circle round the globe, undo decades of development and create a generation’s worth of tragic and exportable problems,” said Lowcock.

“The pandemic and associated global recession are about to wreak havoc in fragile and low-income countries. Unless we act now, we should be prepared for a series of human tragedies more brutal and destructive than any direct health impacts of the virus.”

Recent estimates suggest up to 6,000 children could die every day from preventable causes as a result of direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19.

Lowcock said the problem can be fixed with money from wealthy nations and fresh thinking from the shareholders of international financial institutions and supporters of UN agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

The UN estimates that the cost of protecting the poorest 10 per cent of the global population from the worst effects of the pandemic and global recession is $90 billion, less than 1 per cent of the stimulus package wealthy countries have put in place to protect their own economies, he added.

With $10 billion, the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan will support 63 vulnerable countries and cover the global transport system necessary to deliver the relief.

It includes a supplementary $300 million to bolster rapid response from NGOs, a new famine prevention envelope of $ 500 million dollars, and a sharper focus on preventing gender-based violence.

The COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan brings together appeals from the World Health Organization and other UN humanitarian agencies. NGOs and NGO consortiums can access funding through it.

The plan provides help and protection that prioritize the most vulnerable, including older people, people with disabilities, displaced people, and women and girls.

Since the plan was first launched in March, $1.7 billion of donor funding has been raised.

The plan was updated in May.