Stating that COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession is set to trigger the first increase in global poverty in three decades, UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock has called on G20 nations to step up support, as he released an updated 10.3 billion dollar appeal to fight the pandemic in 63 low-income countries.
The crisis will push about 265 million people to the point of starvation by the end of the year and will face a series of human tragedies more brutal and destructive than the direct health impacts of the pandemic, he said.
“Rich countries have thrown out the rulebook when it comes to protecting their own economies. They must apply the same exceptional measures to countries that need help”, Lowcock said.
As per estimate by the UN Agencies, some 6,000 children could die each every day from preventable causes due to disruptions to health systems caused by the pandemic. They also said that annual deaths from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria could also double.
The Chief also said that 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,” he said.
“It doesn’t have to be like this – this is a problem that can be fixed with money from wealthy nations and fresh thinking from the shareholders of international financial institutions and supporters of UN agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, and NGOs,” he said.
The UN has launched the Global Humanitarian Response Plan to addresses the humanitarian impacts of coronavirus pandemic in low and middle-income countries. It was launched in March, shortly after WHO declared the global pandemic.
As part of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan, 1.7 billion dollars has been raised till now. However, the update includes a supplementary 300 million dollar to bolster rapid response from NGOs, 500 million dollars for famine prevention, and a sharper focus on preventing gender-based violence.