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$2 billion COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan launched

On 25 March the United Nations launched a US$2 billion COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The global plan will help fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries across South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia in a bid to protect millions of people. It is now reaching countries that are already facing humanitarian crisis because of conflict, natural disasters and climate change, putting millions of already vulnerable people at risk.

“Our priority is to help these countries prepare and continue helping the millions who rely on humanitarian assistance from the UN to survive. Properly funded, our global response effort will equip humanitarian organizations with the tools to fight the virus, save lives, and help contain the spread of COVID-19 worldwide,” said Mark Lowcock, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

To kick-start the response plan, Mr. Lowcock released an additional $60 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). This brings CERF’s support to humanitarian action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to $75 million. In addition, country-based pooled funds have allocated more than $3 million so far.

This new CERF allocation – one of the largest ever made – will support: WFP to ensure the continuity of supply chains and transport of aid workers and relief goods; WHO to contain the spread of the pandemic; and other agencies to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to those most affected by the pandemic, including women and girls, refugees and internally displaced people. Support will include efforts around food security, physical and mental health, water and sanitation, nutrition and protection.

The response plan will be implemented by UN agencies, with international NGOs and NGO consortia playing a direct role in the response. It will:

  • deliver essential laboratory equipment to test for the virus, and medical supplies to treat people;

  • install handwashing stations in camps and settlements;

  • launch public information campaigns on how to protect yourself and others from the virus; and

  • establish airbridges and hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America to move humanitarian workers and supplies to where they are needed most.

The UN calls on member states to commit to stemming the impact of COVID-19 in vulnerable countries and containing the virus globally by giving the strongest possible support to the plan, while also sustaining core support to existing humanitarian appeals that help the more than 100 million people who already rely on humanitarian assistance from the UN just to survive. Any diversion of funding by member states from existing humanitarian operations would create an environment in which cholera, measles and meningitis can thrive, in which even more children become malnourished, and in which extremists can take control – an environment that would be the perfect breeding ground for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan will be coordinated by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and brings together requirements from the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN-Habitat, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Programme (WFP).

Click here for a copy of the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan

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