Pointing out that COVID-19 has already upended life in some of the world’s wealthiest countries, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said that it is now reaching people living in warzones, with no soap and clean water and or hospital bed should they fall critically ill.
“If we leave coronavirus to spread freely in these places, we would be placing millions at high risk, whole regions will be tipped into chaos and the virus will have the opportunity to circle back around the globe”, he spelled out.
He acknowledged that countries battling the pandemic at home are “rightly prioritizing” their own communities, but added “the hard truth” that if they do not act now to help the poorest countries protect themselves, they would be failing to protect their own people.
“Our priority is to help these countries prepare and continue helping the millions who rely on humanitarian assistance from the UN to survive”, he said.
“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”, concluded the Humanitarian Coordinator.
To boost the response plan, Mr. Lowcock released an additional $60 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, bringing CERF’s support to the COVID-19 pandemic to $75 million. In addition, country-based pooled funds have allocated more than $3 million, to date.
‘History will judge us’
As the pandemic continues to accelerate, the WHO chief said that “most worrying” of all, was the danger the virus poses to people already affected by crisis.
“The virus is now spreading in countries with weak health systems, including some which are already facing humanitarian crises”, said Mr. Ghebreyesus.
“People and communities that are already uprooted due to conflict, displacement, the climate crisis or other disease outbreaks are the ones we must urgently prioritize”, he underscored.
The agency head sent a clear message to all countries to “heed this warning now, back this plan politically and financially today and we can save lives and slow the spread of this pandemic”.
“History will judge us on how we responded to the poorest communities in their darkest hour”, he concluded, “Let’s act together, right now!”
Meanwhile, UNICEF chief Ms. Fore, said that children are “the hidden victims of the COVID-19 pandemic”.