The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued the following statement on 16 July 2020.
The UN humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock, has called on G20 nations to act now or face a series of human tragedies more brutal and destructive than the direct health impacts of the coronavirus as he released an updated US$10.3 billion appeal to fight the virus in low-income and fragile countries.
Without mitigating action, the pandemic and associated global recession are set to trigger the first increase in global poverty since 1990 and push 265 million people to the point of starvation by the end of the year. Recent estimates suggest up to 6,000 children could die every day from preventable causes as a result of direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19. Meanwhile, diverted health resources could mean the annual death toll from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria doubling.
COVID-19 is now present across the globe, with more than 13 million confirmed cases and more than 580,000 deaths worldwide. Last week the first confirmed case was reported in Idleb, Syria, sparking fears of a devastating outbreak in crowded camps holding displaced people. In Yemen, people’s immune systems are struggling to fight back after years of war and deprivation, and about a quarter of Yemenis confirmed to have COVID-19 have died – five times the rate globally.
“The pandemic and associated global recession are about to wreak havoc in fragile and low-income countries. The response of wealthy nations so far has been grossly inadequate and dangerously short-sighted. Failure to act now will leave the virus free to circle round the globe, undo decades of development and create a generation’s worth of tragic and exportable problems,” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock.
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