This year COVID has hit harder on poor and conflict countries

United Nations (Associated Press)-The UN Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarianism warned on Monday that this year’s COVID-19 pandemic will hit conflict-prone and poor countries much more severely than in 2020, and many countries face higher numbers of cases and deaths Number of people.

Ramesh Rajasingham said in a private briefing to the UN Security Council that these surges were driven by lack of vaccines, relaxation of public health measures, increased social integration and the spread of delta variants to at least 124 countries, including 17 vulnerable and conflict-affected countries. Affected countries.

He said: “This pandemic is far from over.” “For the poorest people on earth, we can say that we are in one of the most dangerous times.”

In a briefing obtained by the Associated Press, Rajah Singham stated that by 2021, almost three-quarters of countries in need of humanitarian assistance have recorded more cases or deaths than in 2020. And in these countries, more than one-third, he added, “compared to last year, the number of recorded cases or deaths this year has increased by at least three times.”

He called these figures “just the tip of the iceberg”, saying that many of these countries have insufficient detection capabilities and therefore the United Nations “has no real understanding of the actual scale of the crisis.”

He said: “Today, we are facing a pandemic on two tracks-one is the track of the rich world and the other is the track of the poor-characterized by huge differences in vaccine supply, infection rates and ability to provide policy support. “

Raja Singham urged the international community to respond and ensure that the poorest countries have access to protective equipment, oxygen, testing tools and other critical supplies. He said that in response to the epidemic and its worsening impact on the poorest people, the global humanitarian system is calling for 36 billion U.S. dollars to help 161 million people.

Raja Singham said that fragile and conflict-affected countries must also have access to vaccines. He said that so far, 80 million vaccine doses have been provided to countries that have appealed for humanitarian assistance from the United Nations.

He said that the World Health Organization has set a goal of vaccinating 10% of each country’s population by September. Rajasingham said that to achieve this goal, the United Nations estimates that countries in need of humanitarian assistance will need an additional 162 million doses of vaccine.

The United Nations expects to provide more vaccine doses in the second half of 2021, but Raja Singham said that vaccines alone are not enough.

He urged the international community to provide support to deliver vaccines in impoverished and conflict-torn countries before the vaccine expiration date, and said this must include recruiting and training health workers, and establishing logistical and security measures to reach remote areas and livelihoods. People in armed control areas. Group.

“Without an effective delivery system, the vaccine dose is basically useless,” he said.

Raja Singham said: “Almost half of the humanitarian appeals to countries are less than 50% of the dose delivered to them.” “For example, in South Sudan, it is impossible to get vaccinated because it is unable to obtain funds for promotion. “

The Security Council is meeting to discuss the implementation of a resolution passed in February, which requires a “continuous humanitarian pause” in all conflict zones in order to obtain vaccines. It also called for “fair and affordable access to the COVID-19 vaccine in armed conflict situations, post-conflict situations and complex humanitarian emergencies.”

Rajasingham said that since the passage of the bill, the most vulnerable countries have not received enough vaccines or help.

“So far, the level of effort to end this pandemic has not been enough,” he said. “More must be done.”

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