World

Covid-19 could worsen humanitarian crisis across the globe: WHO

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on July 18, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic will worsen the humanitarian crises across the globe according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Although COVID-19 has rightly captured the world’s attention, we must also remember it is not the only crisis the world is facing. Many countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East, are still reeling from years of conflict and other humanitarian crises. COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate many of these crises,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said at a press briefing on Friday.

The WHO chief highlighted the crises faced by the world which are escalated due to the pandemic. This includes poverty and food shortage.

“The pandemic, and the restrictions put in place to suppress it, are taking a heavy toll on 220 million people in protracted emergencies,” he said.

Over 132 million more people may go hungry in 2020 owing to the economic impact of the lockdown according to a recent UN report.

“Deep budget cuts to education and rising poverty caused by the pandemic could force at least 9.7 million children out of school forever by the end of this year, with millions more falling behind in learning,” the WHO chief said.

“The economic impact of the pandemic in humanitarian settings can aggravate already dire living conditions – more displacement, food shortages, risk of malnutrition, decrease in access to essential services, mental health problems, and so on,” he added.

The UN health agency further shared updates on the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19. The plan was launched by the UN launched in March to “address the immediate humanitarian needs caused or exacerbated by COVID-19 in 63 priority countries with existing humanitarian crises.”

Published on July 18, 2020

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