UN, partners raise $3.7bn for Covid relief in 2020

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (Front) attends the screening of the United Nations Day Concert 2020 in the General Assembly Hall at the UN headquarters in New York, on Oct. 22, 2020. (Mark Garten/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)

United Nations, June 19 (IANS) The UN said that $3.7 billion was raised with partners for Covid-19 relief in 2020, amid conflicts and a mounting climate crisis which already generated record-high humanitarian needs.

UN Undersecretary-General Mark Lowcock, also head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said on Friday that it “was a year like no other”, reports Xinhua news agency

The world body and its partners had sought $9.5 billion in a Global Humanitarian Response Plan for Covid-19 in 63 countries, he said.

They raised $3.7 billion.

The OCHA-coordinated Global Humanitarian Overview for 2020 for non-Covid aid called for $38.5 billion, Lowcock said, ading that just $19 billion was funded.

More than half of the 17 million people of Syria needed emergency aid, and OCHA mobilised resources, negotiated humanitarian access and advocated for the protection of civilians, he said.

“Yemen remained the world’s worst crisis in 2020, with 13 million people unsure where their next meal would come from and 16,000 people starving,” the chief humanitarian coordinator said, adding that reduced funding forced a downscaling of operations.

The climate crisis hit with force in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, the Caribbean and Central America, the Philippines and Vietnam, and in the South Pacific, Vanuatu, the OCHA reported.

Violence deepened in the central Sahel with humanitarian support needed in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, OCHA said.

In November, hostilities erupted in Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray region.

“All our efforts were possible only through the generosity and commitment of our donors and partners,” Lowcock added.

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