New York: Poorer countries need 2 billion dollars of international humanitarian aid to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said in launching a major donation appeal on Wednesday.

Guterres said the virus is arriving in “in countries already in the midst of humanitarian crises caused by conflicts, natural disasters and climate change,” and that the aid is needed for “millions upon millions of people who are least able to protect themselves.”

“Let us do everything we can to prevent Covid-19 from wreaking havoc in places with limited health care capacity and resilience,” the UN secretary general said in a virtual press conference.

He noted that people in those nations often live in cramped refugee camps where they do not have the means to self-isolate, lack clean water and soap to wash their hands, and do not have access to hospital beds and ventilators if they become seriously ill, said a dpa report.

“The world is only as strong as our weakest health system. If we do not act decisively now, I fear the virus will establish a foothold in the most fragile countries, leaving the whole world vulnerable as it continues to circle the planet, paying no mind to borders,” Guterres said.

Even though developed countries are taking expensive measures to protect their own economies from the pandemic, they will also benefit if they help less developed countries, UN emergency aid coordinator Mark Lowcock told dpa from New York, where the aid plan was presented.

“Nobody is safe until everybody is safe,” Lowcock said.He also warned that the virus has the potential to destabilize countries, which could in turn boost migration.

“There is a risk of the effects of this virus tipping regions into chaos,” Lowcock said.

In recent days, Guterres has called for much stronger global coordination on the response to the pandemic.

In a Monday letter to the G20 group of leading economic powers, he pushed for a “war-time” stimulus bill “in the trillions of dollars” to help poor countries.

The UN chief also called for a global ceasefire so the world can focus on fighting the pandemic.

There are over 430,000 confirmed coronavirus cases around the globe, and more than 19,600 deaths, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.

Lowcock said the virus is starting to spread across the African continent and the first case has been reported in Syria, warning that the “impact in these places would be catastrophic.”

Source: Bahrain News Agency 

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New York: Poorer countries need 2 billion dollars of international humanitarian aid to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said in launching a major donation appeal on Wednesday. Guterres said the virus is arriving in 'in countries already in the midst of humanitarian crises caused by conflicts, natural disasters and climate change,' and that...