Haiti only CARICOM country covered in UN’s US$2 billion response plan for COVID-19
Haiti is the only CARICOM country covered in a United Nations (UN) response plan to fight COVID-19. Haiti’s neighbour, Dominican Republic, and Guyana’s western neighbour Venezuela are also covered.
According to the UN, a COVID-19 outbreak would cripple an already weak health system. Haiti’s main health problems are related to reproductive health, existing infectious diseases (malaria, diphtheria and measles) and medicine shortages. Access to health services is already low; a COVID-19 outbreak would increase mortality among the most vulnerable.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday launched a US $2 billion coordinated global humanitarian response plan to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries in a bid to protect millions of people and stop the virus from circling back around the globe.
COVID-19 has killed more than 16,000 people worldwide and there are nearly 400,000 reported cases.
“It has a foothold across the globe and is now reaching countries that were already facing humanitarian crisis because of conflict, natural disasters and climate change,” the United Nations stated.
The response plan will be implemented by UN agencies, with international NGOs and NGO consortia playing a direct role in the response. It will:
- deliver essential laboratory equipment to test for the virus, and medical supplies to treat people;
- install handwashing stations in camps and settlements;
- launch public information campaigns on how to protect yourself and others from the virus; and
- establish airbridges and hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America to move humanitarian workers and supplies to where they are needed most.
“COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back. Individual country responses are not going to be enough,” said Guterres.
He added: “We must come to the aid of the ultra-vulnerable – millions upon millions of people who are least able to protect themselves. This is a matter of basic human solidarity. It is also crucial for combating the virus. This is the moment to step up for the vulnerable.”
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said:
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the virus is now spreading in countries with weak health systems, including some which are already facing humanitarian crises.
“These countries need our support – out of solidarity but also to protect us all and help suppress this pandemic. At the same time, we must not fight the pandemic at the expense of the other humanitarian health emergencies,” he stated.
Member States were warned that any diversion of funding from existing humanitarian operations would create an environment in which cholera, measles and meningitis can thrive, in which even more children become malnourished, and in which extremists can take control – an environment that would be the perfect breeding ground for the coronavirus.
An additional $60 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). This brings CERF’s support to humanitarian action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to $75 million. In addition, country-based pooled funds have allocated more than $3 million so far.
This new CERF allocation – one of the largest ever made – will support: WFP to ensure the continuity of supply chains and transport of aid workers and relief goods; WHO to contain the spread of the pandemic; and other agencies to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to those most affected by the pandemic, including women and girls, refugees and internally displaced people. Support will include efforts around food security, physical and mental health, water and sanitation, nutrition and protection.