U.N. Launches $2B Humanitarian Appeal, COVID-19 Response Plan To Assist Vulnerable Populations

Devex: U.N. announces $2B plan to help ‘ultravulnerable’ combat COVID-19
“United Nations leaders have launched a $2 billion global humanitarian funding appeal for COVID-19, aiming to get ahead of the global health pandemic before it hits vulnerable populations and weak health systems across South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. … All U.N. agencies, including UNICEF and the World Health Organization, will work jointly to implement the new response plan, overseen by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The implementation will reflect the ‘tried and tested’ approach the U.N. last used during the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak, OCHA head Mark Lowcock said during the briefing…” (Lieberman, 3/26).

Financial Times: Global lenders seek debt relief for poorest countries
“The IMF and World Bank have called on governments to offer immediate debt relief to the world’s poorest countries to help them tackle the coronavirus outbreak. … Campaigners say the pandemic will put unsustainable pressure on governments with public finances already under stress and with health systems ill-prepared for the crisis…” (Strauss/Wheatley, 3/25).

The Guardian: Coronavirus threatens to turn aid crises into ‘humanitarian catastrophes’
“Stringent new international restrictions on movement introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic are threatening the lives of millions of people across the world already caught up in humanitarian emergencies. U.N. agencies, aid groups, and international experts have warned that the new restrictions, which have closed borders and ports, and severely limited the movement of key staff from Africa to South America and Asia, threaten a ‘dramatic’ knock-on effect in countries suffering from conflict, extreme climate events, and other crises…” (Beaumont, 3/25).

U.N. News: U.N. launches major humanitarian appeal to keep COVID-19 from ‘circling back around the globe’
“…The U.N. chief stressed that a global approach is the only way to fight the coronavirus. ‘COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity — and so the whole of humanity must fight back,’ he said, underscoring that ‘individual country responses are not going to be enough.’ Assisting the ‘ultra-vulnerable’ — the millions upon millions of people who are least able to protect themselves — is not only ‘a matter of basic human solidarity’ but also crucial for combating the virus, according to Mr. Guterres…” (3/25).

Additional coverage of the U.N.’s $2 billion appeal and other international efforts to combat COVID-19 is available from New Humanitarian, New York Times, Reuters, U.N. News, and Washington Post.