The COVID-19 pandemic has increased global humanitarian needs in 2020. At the beginning of 2020, global humanitarian requirements were already close to $30 billion, with 168 million people expected to need aid to survive. These global requirements have risen to a record $37 billion, including requirements to respond to COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded existing needs and created new challenges in an unprecedented way. With rapidly rising caseloads in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, the pandemic is expected to peak in the next two to six months in the world’s most fragile places. The pandemic and associated global recession will cause vulnerability and humanitarian needs to soar in countries already in a state of humanitarian crisis.
The impact is widespread and goes beyond the direct COVID-19 and other health consequences for millions. The number of acutely food insecure people may double, as food supplies decrease, and prices rise. In ten countries, including some with severe humanitarian needs such as Syria, Yemen, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than a million people per country are already on the verge of starvation. In the long term, the pandemic could lead to famine in as many as 35 countries, such as Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, and Haiti. More than 80 million children may miss routine immunization and vaccination campaigns. Nearly a hundred countries reported the suspension or disruption of routine immunization campaigns in early May (UNICEF, WHO, GAVI). Reports of sexual- and gender-based violence are increasing. An additional 40-60 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty as incomes plummet and jobs disappear (World Bank).
The humanitarian community came together to produce the coordinated, inter-agency Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19 which was launched on 25 March and updated on 7 May. The third update of the GHRP will be released on 16 July. This update will cover the same 63 countries as in the May update. It will focus on changes in situation and needs, collective results and achievements, operational challenges and current financial requirements.
OCHA has also been working with agency partners to finalise the overarching GHRP Monitoring Framework and organise data collection. UN agencies have taken responsibility for aggregating data globally and reporting against the indicators in the framework. The July update of the GHRP will be reporting against these indicators. After July, select indicators will continue to be featured in the regular GHRP Progress Reports.
In addition to the revision work and the GHRP Monitoring Framework, planning has commenced for the integration of COVID-19 related humanitarian needs and funding requirements into Humanitarian Response Plans and the 2021 Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO). COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 responses will be integrated in 2021, and there will not be a distinction between funding requirements for these two types of responses.
This report is planned for August, September and October. It will provide brief updates on the operational context, challenges, and adapted field practices; present an in-depth look at specific sectors, at-risk groups, and other topics; and review financial requirements and funding.
Photo: UN OCHA