Saturday, March 6, 2021
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UN agencies call for urgent funding assistance to fight COVID-19 • Joint Statement says pandemic is the world’s most daunting challenge since World War 11 • Warns about likely impact on most vulnerable countries’ heads of the United Nations’ major agencies have issued a warning of the risk of COVID-19 to the world’s most vulnerable countries. International donors have pledged around a quarter of the US$2 billion the UN requested in the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 in March.  Following is the text of the open letter:   Dear donor community, Humanity is collectively facing its most daunting challenge since the Second World War. COVID-19 knows no borders, spares no country or continent, and strikes indiscriminately. By all accounts, we are at least 12 months away from a vaccine. In this race against an invisible enemy, all countries must fight back, but not all begin from the same starting line. In countries where the world’s most vulnerable need humanitarian aid and supplies to beat back the pandemic, cancelled flights and disrupted supply routes hit disproportionately hard. It is in everyone’s interest to stop the virus from spreading unchecked, destroying lives and economies, and continuing to circle around the world. The UN Secretary-General on 25 March launched the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, requesting US$2 billion to boost the global response. You have been fast and generous in your funding and have extended lifelines to those who were already caught up in war, poverty and the worst effects of climate change – especially at a time when your own populations are suffering from the impact of the virus. Around $550 million has generously been made available to implement the Plan so far, with significant additional resources being mobilized and pledged. The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has also released $95 million to kick-start the COVID-19 response, help contain the spread of the virus, maintain supply chains, and provide assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people, including women and girls, refugees and internally displaced persons. But more needs to be done. To get more deliveries off the ground, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is setting up the vital logistics backbone that will help save lives and help halt the spread of the virus. WFP now urgently needs additional funding to establish the necessary transport hubs, charter vessels and provide aircraft for cargo, health workers and other essential staff. All elements of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan are crucial and need continued funding, but without these logistics common services, the global response could stutter to a halt. Now…

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