As this report is issued, more than 33 million people worldwide have been infected with COVID-19 and one million have died. Some 11.8 million cases and 409 thousand deaths have been confirmed in the 63 countries covered in the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP).
However, the raw data should be treated with caution. There are well-known limitations to testing and reporting from many countries, including those in the GHRP. Many places have likely not reached peak transmission yet.
The enormity of the secondary consequences of the pandemic is also now coming into view. We are seeing increasing hunger and malnutrition. Famine is back on the agenda with warning lights flashing in South Sudan, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north-east Nigeria, and Africa’s Sahel region to name a few.Health and education systems are collapsing in many countries, leading to a rise in preventable diseases and children dropping out of school. Women and girls face gender-based violence everywhere. The longer it takes before lockdowns and curfews can be lifted, the worse it will get. The contraction of economies is hurting everyone. But those at the bottom of the income pyramid and in the informal sector feel it most. Against a historic drop in poverty over the past three decades, the number of people in extreme poverty is set to rise again. The most vulnerable pay the biggest price – women, children, the disabled and the elderly.
All this will likely fuel grievances and in their wake conflict, instability and displacement, all giving succour to extremist groups. If left to fester, the consequences will be neither contained, nor time bound.
The GHRP is a key piece of a multi-faceted international and national response. Yet the funding to date is less than 30 per cent of the US$10 billion required. Humanitarian organizations are grateful for the money they have received and have been able to quickly adapt responses and adjust priorities to cover both new COVID-related and pre-existing needs. But overall, the current level of funding – and lack of indications regarding additional funding during the last quarter of 2020 – should jolt decision-makers into action. If your neighbour’s house is on fire, you ignore it at your peril.
More support, from more donors, is urgently needed.It is a tiny proportion of what is being spent saving the strongest economies of the world. It is also necessary to ensure that national and local actors at the frontlines of response have the financial resources they need.
The world’s international financial institutions led by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank could also do more to help distressed countries, including those in the GHRP. A good place to start would be to increase lending on favourable terms and create extra reserves to help struggling economies.
This Progress Report will present the collective achievements the UN and NGOs have made thus far. It will also examine the links between the GHRP and the Global Humanitarian Overview 2021; the scourge of gender-based violence; education and child protection; and provide funding and resource mobilization analysis and an update on pooled fund support to the crisis. The next report will be issued at the end of October.
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs