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UN appeals for $6.7 billion to protect millions in fragile countries

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Thursday, May 7, 2020

Refugees at Kalobeyei Settlement in Kenya receive two-month rations of soap, jerrycans and firewood. © UNHCR/Samuel Otieno

The United Nations has launched an appeal for US $6.7 billion to fight coronavirus in fragile countries including South Sudan.


COVID-19 has now reached every country, with nearly 3,596,000 confirmed cases and over 247,650 deaths worldwide.

According to the UN, the peak of the disease in the world’s poorest countries is not expected until some point over the next three to six months.

However, it says there is already evidence of incomes falling and jobs disappearing, food supplies falling and prices soaring, and children missing vaccinations and meals.

Thursday’s appeal and updated humanitarian response plan were released at a virtual event hosted by Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark alongside representatives of the World Health Organization and other humanitarian organizations.

The plan was first launched by the UN Secretary-General in March.

The updated Response Plan now includes nine additional vulnerable countries: Benin, Djibouti, Liberia, Mozambique, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zimbabwe, and programs to respond to the growth in food insecurity.

During the launch, the UN’s Humanitarian Chief, Mark Lowcock, called for swift and determined action to avoid the most destabilizing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is hurting us all, but the most devastating and destabilizing effects will be felt in the world’s poorest countries,” Lowcock said.

“In the poorest countries, we can already see economies contracting as export earnings, remittances, and tourism disappear. Unless we take action now, we should be prepared for a significant rise in conflict, hunger, and poverty.”

He says if the world does not support its poorest people during this Covid-19 pandemic, it will deal with spillover effects for many years to come.

For his part, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, stated that in most vulnerable countries, confinement and other measures to fight Covid-19 are having a major impact on essential health services.

Through the response plan, Adhanom believes the UN can maintain the provision of other essential services ranging from vaccination to sexual and reproductive health, WASH, and mental health.

The COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan is the international community’s primary fundraising vehicle to respond to the humanitarian impacts of the virus in low- and middle- income countries and support their efforts to fight it.

The plan brings together appeals from WHO and other UN humanitarian agencies.

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