Press Conference to Launch Covid-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan

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25-Mar-2020 00:46:25
At a joint virtual press briefing, Secretary-General António Guterres, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Fore and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, launch a $2 billion coordinated global humanitarian response plan, to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries in a bid to protect the millions most at risk.

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Having gained a foothold in 195 countries with more than 400,000 reported cases and close to 20,000 reported deaths, COVID-19 is reaching more and more areas of the world grappling with conflict, natural disasters and climate change.

The UN chief stressed that a global approach is the only way to fight the coronavirus.

“This is the moment to step up for the vulnerable”, he stated.

Organized by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the interagency plan brings together existing appeals from WHO and other UN partners as well as identifies new needs.

Pointing out that COVID-19 has already upended life in some of the world’s wealthiest countries, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said that it is now reaching people living in warzones, with no soap and clean water and or hospital bed should they fall critically ill.

As the pandemic continues to accelerate, the WHO chief said that “most worrying” of all, was the danger the virus poses to people already affected by crisis.

“The virus is now spreading in countries with weak health systems, including some which are already facing humanitarian crises”, said Mr. Ghebreyesus.

Meanwhile, UNICEF chief Ms. Fore, said that children are “the hidden victims of the COVID-19 pandemic”. Lockdowns and school closures are affecting their education, mental health and access to basic health services and raising the risks of exploitation and abuse.

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