Tuesday, 1 December 2020

UN Needs Billions More to Give Coronavirus Aid Across the World

Migrant workers and their families, such as these in India, are among the most vulnerable to the economic consequences of widespread lockdowns by governments as they try to curb the spread of the virus. [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
LONDON: The United Nations is increasing to $10.3 billion its appeal for humanitarian aid funding to handle the fallout from the coronavirus crisis around the world.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in Geneva on Friday that “the number of people in the world who need humanitarian assistance has more than doubled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the global lockdown of economies and societies.”

At the beginning of the year, humanitarian agencies targeted around 110 million people, he said. They now need to reach 250 million in 63 countries.

Laerke said the UN initially asked for $2 billlion in late March for the immediate response. That was increased to $6.7 billion in May.

He said the appeal does cover basic health services but the bulk of it is related to non-health needs, such as food, water, sanitation and shelter.

He added that “we are seeing a huge increase in the number of starving people, which could reach some 270 million by the end of the year.”

So far, the UN has received $1.7 billion.

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