COVID-19 GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE PLAN

The United Nations today launched a US$2 billion coordinated global humanitarian response plan to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries in a bid to protect millions of people and stop the virus from circling back around the globe.

Photo: OCHA/Iason Athanasiadis

UN issues $2 billion appeal to combat COVID-19

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25 March 2020 – The United Nations today launched a US$2 billion coordinated global humanitarian response plan to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries in a bid to protect millions of people and stop the virus from circling back around the globe.

COVID-19 has killed more than 16,000 people worldwide and there are nearly 400,000 reported cases. It has a foothold across the globe and is now reaching countries that were already facing humanitarian crisis because of conflict, natural disasters and climate change.

The COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan will be implemented by UN agencies, with international NGOs and NGO consortiums 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.

Speaking at the virtual launch of the response plan, Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said: “To leave the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries to their fate would be both cruel and unwise. 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.”

Mr. Lowcock noted that countries battling the pandemic at home are rightly prioritizing people living in their own communities. “But the hard truth is they will be failing to protect their own people if they do not act now to help the poorest countries protect themselves,” he stressed.

At the launch of the response plan, the Under-Secretary-General was joined by UN Secretary-General António Guterres; Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO); and Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF.

Together, they called on UN 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.

“COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back. Individual country responses are not going to be enough,” the Secretary-General said.

“We must come to the aid of the ultra-vulnerable – millions upon millions of people who are least able to protect themselves.  This is a matter of basic human solidarity. It is also crucial for combating the virus. This is the moment to step up for the vulnerable.”

Member States were warned that any diversion of funding 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 the coronavirus.

To kick-start the response plan, Mr. Lowcock released an additional $60 million from the UN 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: the World Food Programme 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.

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL APPEALS FOR GLOBAL CEASE-FIRE

In these times of unprecedented challenges to our humanity, we are sharing with you this appeal from the Secretary-General of the United Nations for an immediate global cease-fire. We trust you will help us amplify this urgent call to help save lives and restore hope for women, men and children facing the risk of the COVID 19 pandemic while living in dire conditions in armed conflict and forced displacement situations across the globe.

In these times of unprecedented challenges to our humanity, we are sharing with you this appeal from the Secretary-General of the United Nations for an immediate global cease-fire. We trust you will help us amplify this urgent call to help save lives and restore hope for women, men and children facing the risk of the COVID 19 pandemic while living in dire conditions in armed conflict and forced displacement situations across the globe. 
 
Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19. 

The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith.  It attacks all, relentlessly.

Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world.  

The most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price.

They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19.

Let’s not forget that in war-ravaged countries, health systems have collapsed.

Health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted. 
 
Refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable.
 
The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.
 
That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. 
 
It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.
 
To warring parties, I say: 
 
Pull back from hostilities.  
 
Put aside mistrust and animosity. 
 
Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes. 

This is crucial…
 
To help create corridors for life-saving aid.
 
To open precious windows for diplomacy. 

To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. 
 
Let us take inspiration from coalitions and dialogue slowly taking shape among rival parties to enable joint approaches to COVID-19.  But we need much more.
 
End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world.
 
It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now.
 
That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.


LE SECRÉTAIRE GÉNÉRAL

APPEL POUR UN CESSEZ-LE-FEU MONDIAL
 
Le monde entier affronte aujourd’hui un ennemi commun : le COVID-19.
 
Le virus n’épargne aucune nationalité, communauté ou religion. Il attaque tout le monde sur son passage, implacablement.
 
Pendant ce temps, les conflits armés continuent de faire rage dans le monde.
 
Ce sont les personnes les plus vulnérables – les femmes et les enfants, les personnes en situation de handicap, les personnes marginalisées et déplacées – qui paient le tribut le plus lourd.
 
Ces mêmes personnes courent également le plus grand risque de subir des pertes dévastatrices à cause du COVID-19.
 
N’oublions pas que dans les pays ravagés par la guerre, les systèmes de santé se sont effondrés.
 
Les professionnels de santé, qui étaient déjà peu nombreux, ont souvent été pris pour cibles.
 
Les réfugiés et toutes les personnes déplacées par des conflits violents sont doublement vulnérables.
 
La furie avec laquelle s’abat le virus montre bien que se faire la guerre est une folie.
 
C’est la raison pour laquelle j’appelle aujourd’hui à un cessez-le-feu immédiat, partout dans le monde. 
 
L’heure est venue de laisser les conflits armés derrière nous pour concentrer nos efforts sur le véritable combat de nos vies.
 
A vous qui êtes en guerre, je dis :
 
Renoncez aux hostilités.
 
Laissez de côté la méfiance et l’animosité.
 
Posez les armes, faites taire les canons, mettez fin aux frappes aériennes.
 
C’est essentiel…
 
Pour pouvoir établir des couloirs d’aide humanitaire qui sauveront des vies.
 
Pour reprendre le dialogue et donner une chance à la diplomatie.
 
Pour ramener l’espoir dans certains des lieux les plus vulnérables face au COVID-19.
 
Inspirons-nous des coalitions qui prennent forme et des dialogues qui se nouent lentement entre des parties rivales pour permettre des approches conjointes face au COVID-19. Mais il faut en faire beaucoup plus.
 
Mettons un terme au fléau de la guerre et luttons contre la maladie qui ravage notre monde.
 
Cela commence par l’arrêt des combats. Partout. Tout de suite.
 
C’est ce dont nous tous, membres de la famille humaine, avons besoin. Aujourd’hui plus que jamais.

UNITED NATIONS CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) WEB PORTAL

Photo ©UNICEF/UN0339412/Frank Dejongh

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Learn more in the six UN official languages at www.un.org/coronavirus

More Resources

Peacekeeping

Peacekeeping missions are putting in place a series of mitigation measures to promote the safety, security and health of all UN personnel while maintaining continuity of operations.

Humanitarian Assistance

More than 100 million people already rely on support from the United Nations’ humanitarian agencies. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) top priority is to ensure that we do the best we can to keep providing life-saving help for those people, while supporting the wider system’s response to COVID-19.

Children

The UN Children’s agency is providing the latest updatesexplainers for parents and teachers, and resources for media as new information becomes available.

Reproductive Health

UNFPA, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, has issued a statement on COVID-19 and pregnancy.

Refugees

UNHCR is committed to preventing and responding to this health emergency. Their primary goal is to protect refugees, displaced people and their host communities.

Food and Agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is working closely with WHO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to assist member countries and research communities in identifying potential animal hosts of this virus and reduce spillover events to humans.

Tourism

The tourism sector, like no other economic activity with social impact, is based on interaction amongst people. UNWTO has been guiding the tourism sector’s response on several levels.

Aviation

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), WHO, IATA and ACI have worked in close cooperation on the development of this single source for aviation-specific guidelines with the objective of ensuring appropriate planning and action at all levels and thus in order to mitigate the effects of a human outbreak.

Educational Disruption and Response

UNESCO is providing immediate support to countries as they work to minimize the educational disruption and facilitate the continuity of learning, especially for the most vulnerable.

UN Development Programme

UNDP is working with its partners to combat the spread of the disease and to support the most affected countries where health systems are weakest and people are at their most vulnerable.

The World Bank Group

The World Bank is providing new financing to countries on a fast-track basis, as well as policy advice and technical assistance.

The International Monetary Fund

The IMF is helping its member states with emergency financing, debt relief, new financing arrangements and capacity development.

UN Conference on Trade and Development

UNCTAD is monitoring the effects of the pandemic on manufacturing, trade, foreign direct investment and economic growth.

 

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