On Thursday the United Nations appealed for funds worth USD 4.7 billion in funding to “protect millions of lives and stem the spread of coronavirus in fragile countries.”
The money is in addition to the USD 2 billion that the already called for when it commenced its global humanitarian response plan on March 25. So far, it has received about half of the money asked for.
“The most devastating and destabilizing effects” of the novel coronavirus pandemic “will be felt in the world’s poorest countries,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said in the statement.
“Unless we take action now, we should be prepared for a significant rise in conflict, hunger and poverty. The spectre of multiple famines looms,” he warned.
The total amount of USD 6.7 billion is expected to cover the costs of the humanitarian response plan until December. The response plan includes around 20 countries, including several in conflict such as Afghanistan and Syria.
The new call for donations came as nine more countries were added to the list: Benin, Djibouti, Liberia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Zimbabwe.
These funds will be used to buy medical equipment to test and treat the sick, provide hand-washing stations, launch information campaigns and establish humanitarian airlifts to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, according to the UN.
“I urge donors to act in both solidarity and in self-interest and make their response proportionate to the scale of the problem we face,” he added, warning of a long-term boomerang effect if poor countries are neglected by rich countries.
So far, the novel coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December has infected more than 3.5 million people globally.