UN / COVID-19 GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

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07-May-2020 00:02:53
The United Nations (UN) and partners launched a (USD) 6.7 billion appeal to protect millions of lives and halt the spread of COVID-19 in more than 60 of the world’s most fragile countries. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / COVID-19 GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
TRT: 02:53
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGES: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 07 MAY 2020, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior UN Headquarters

07 MAY 2020, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

2. Multiple screens, participants
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General, and Emergency Relief Coordinator, OCHA:
“In many places the impact of national measures to contain the spread of the virus and the global recession, may be larger than the direct impact of the disease. We must fight the disease, but in the poorest countries it won’t be the only battle we face. A coronavirus vaccine is essential, but it will not save a child from starving to death. If we do not act swiftly, we face a reversal of the development gains we’ve made over several decades.”
4. Multiple screens, participants
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General, and Emergency Relief Coordinator, OCHA:
“Wealthy countries will need to make a significant one-time increase in their foreign aid commitments. And international financial institutions will need to change lending agreements with vulnerable countries. The alternative is dealing with the spillover effects for many years to come. That will be even more painful, and much more expensive for everyone.”
6. Multiple screens, participants
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO:
“Tackling the pandemic while continuing to provide life-saving and essential health services in places where infrastructure is at best limited and often destroyed, health systems are already at breaking point, and where health-care workers and communities may be facing conflict and other emergencies, this is an extremely challenging task. It is critical that we maintain these services.”
8. Multiple screens, participants
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner, UNHCR:
“Poverty strikes often before COVID-19. Look at what’s happening to Venezuelans in South America, to Afgans in Southwest Asia, to Syrians in Lebanon and Jordan and other countries. And look at what is happening also to many communities hosting these refugees that require the same attention.”
10. Multiple screens, participants
11. SOUNDBITE (English) David Beasley, Executive Director, WFP:
“So, what we are facing now is a double pandemic of truly famines that could impact us of biblical proportions. There is no question mega-famines are on our brink, literally right now. Before COVID hit the scene we already had 135 million people, as I say, marching on the brink of starvation. That’s in addition to the 821 million people who are chronically hungry. We are talking about people who don’t receive emergency support, will die.”
12. Multiple screens, participants
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“We need 6.7 billion US dollars to protect millions of people and help stop the virus from circling back around the globe. Humanitarian aid is not just a moral imperative, it is a practical necessity to combat the virus. If COVID-19 wreaks havoc in the poorest classes, we are all at risk.”
14. Multiple screens, participants

STORYLINE:

The United Nations (UN) and partners today (7 May) launched a (USD) 6.7 billion appeal to protect millions of lives and halt the spread of COVID-19 in more than 60 of the world’s most fragile countries.

The updated Global Humanitarian Response Plan, launched on Thursday, provides help and protection that prioritize the most vulnerable in society, such as older people, people with disabilities, and women and girls.

Speaking ahead of the launch event, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock warned of a significant rise in conflict, hunger and poverty, as well as looming famine, unless action is taken now.

Briefing via video teleconference, Lowcock said, “in many places the impact of national measures to contain the spread of the virus and the global recession, may be larger than the direct impact of the disease” adding that “if we do not act swiftly, we face a reversal of the development gains we’ve made over several decades.”

The Emergency Relief Coordinator said “wealthy countries will need to make a significant one-time increase in their foreign aid commitments. And international financial institutions will need to change lending agreements with vulnerable countries.”

The alternative, he said, will mean “dealing with the spillover effects for many years to come” and added that “that will be even more painful, and much more expensive for everyone.”

COVID-19 has now reached practically every country on the planet, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting more than 3.6 million cases and over 251,000 deaths as of Thursday. However, humanitarians believe the peak of the disease in the world’s poorest countries is expected to hit within the next three to six months.

The WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director, Dr. Michael Ryan, said, “tackling the pandemic while continuing to provide life-saving and essential health services in places where infrastructure is at best limited and often destroyed, health systems are already at breaking point, and where health-care workers and communities may be facing conflict and other emergencies, this is an extremely challenging task.”

Ryan said it was “critical that we maintain these services.”

The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said, “poverty strikes often before COVID-19” and cited the examples “Venezuelans in South America, to Afghans in Southwest Asia, to Syrians in Lebanon and Jordan and other countries.”

Grandi said, “and look at what is happening also to many communities hosting these refugees that require the same attention.”

The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley, said “what we are facing now is a double pandemic of truly famines that could impact us of biblical proportions.”

Beasley said, “there is no question mega-famines are on our brink, literally right now” noting that “before COVID hit the scene we already had 135 million people, as I say, marching on the brink of starvation. That’s in addition to the 821 million people who are chronically hungry. We are talking about people who don’t receive emergency support, will die.”

The WFP is among the UN agencies and partners responding to the immense needs, reaching nearly 100 million people on any given day.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in a recorded message, said, “we need 6.7 billion US dollars to protect millions of people and help stop the virus from circling back around the globe. Humanitarian aid is not just a moral imperative, it is a practical necessity to combat the virus. If COVID-19 wreaks havoc in the poorest classes, we are all at risk.”

The $6.7 billion Global Humanitarian Response Plan calls for swift and determined action to stave off the most debilitating effects of the pandemic in 63 low and middle-income countries. While most of these nations have low COVID-19 caseloads, their surveillance, laboratory testing and health systems are weak, according to WHO.

The initial plan has netted $1 billion which has been used to install handwashing facilities in refugee camps and other vulnerable places, and to provide countries with medical supplies such as gloves, surgical masks, N95 respirators and testing kits.

New transport hubs for delivering supplies by air have also been established, while nearly two million people worldwide, including health workers, have been trained in virus identification via an online portal run by WHO.
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