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UN Global COVID-19 Response Plan Seeks Over $10Bln to Aid Poor Countries

© REUTERS / Njeri MwangiNurses participate in a Zumba aerobic fitness program as a way of helping them to cope with working situations during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak within the Infectious Disease Unit grounds of the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya May 28, 2020.
Nurses participate in a Zumba aerobic fitness program as a way of helping them to cope with working situations during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak within the Infectious Disease Unit grounds of the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya May 28, 2020. - Sputnik International
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(Sputnik) - The United Nations expanded its appeal to fund the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic in vulnerable countries and now seeks more than $10 billion, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Thursday.

“The UN’s Humanitarian Chief [Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator] Mark Lowcock, has called on G20 nations to act now or face a series of human tragedies, more brutal and destructive than the direct health impacts of the virus, as he released an updated US$10.3 billion appeal to fight the coronavirus in low-income and fragile countries,” the statement said.

The initial response plan, launched by the organization in March, aimed to collect $2 billion. With the intensification of the pandemic, the humanitarian request had been increased to $6.7 billion in May.

OCHA said the new plan includes $300 million to bolster local responses by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), $500 million to support famine prevention as well as shape a sharper approach targeting gender-violence in 63 vulnerable countries.

Without the immediate action, the pandemic and related economic recession threaten to push 265 million people on the brink of starvation by the end of this year, OCHA warned. This would constitute the first increase in global poverty since 1990.

The agency added that due to COVID-19 impacts, the world could see up to 6,000 child deaths on a daily basis from preventable causes.

Besides, diverted funding from vaccination resources could double the death toll from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, OCHA said.

“The pandemic and associated global recession are about to wreak havoc in fragile and low- income countries,” Lowcock said. “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.”

To date, more than 13.6 million coronavirus infections have been confirmed, with over 586,000 deaths across 188 countries and regions, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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