UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations on Thursday issued a new appeal for $4.7 billion in funding to “protect millions of lives and stem the spread of coronavirus in fragile countries.”
“I would like to see some of the wealthiest people in the world who are making money right now step up and be generous,” David Beasley, director of the UN s World Food Programme, told a videoconference.
Beasley urged the world s wealthiest people and companies to “step up in a major, major way,” saying that “if they do, we ll all benefit — if they don t, everyone has to pay a price.”
The money is on top of the $2 billion the UN already called for when it launched its global humanitarian response plan on March 25. It has received about half of that money so far.
“The most devastating and destabilizing effects” of the novel coronavirus pandemic “will be felt in the world s poorest countries,” the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Mark Lowcock, said in a statement.
“Unless we take action now, we should be prepared for a significant rise in conflict, hunger and poverty. The specter of multiple famines looms,” he warned.
It is expected that the entire $ 6.7 billion will be used to pay for humanitarian contingency plans until December.
It prioritized about 20 countries, including several countries in conflict such as Afghanistan and Syria.
The new appeal for donations appeared after adding 9 more countries to the list: Benin, Djibouti, Liberia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zimbabwe.
The UN says the funds will be used to purchase medical equipment to test and treat patients, provide hand-washing stations, conduct promotional campaigns and establish humanitarian airlifts to Africa, Asia and Latin America.
It also aims to develop new plans to better respond to the food insecurity aggravated by the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Extraordinary measures are needed,” Lowcock stressed.
“I urge donors to act in both solidarity and in self-interest and make their response proportionate to the scale of the problem we face,” he added, warning of a long-term boomerang effect if poor countries are neglected by rich countries.
COVID-19 infections are expected to peak in the world s poorest countries in the next three to six months, according to UN estimates.