OCHA AND COVID-19
The coronavirus now has a foothold in 205 countries, areas or territories. Some of these are countries that are already in crisis due to conflicts, natural disasters and climate change. They are home to a large number of people in need of emergency assistance.
Through these challenging times, OCHA is determined that its crucial life-saving work is sustained. More than 100 million people already rely on support from the United Nations’ humanitarian agencies. OCHA’s top priority is to ensure that we do the best we can to keep providing life-saving help for those people, while supporting the wider system’s response to COVID-19.
Swift fundraising, focused coordination across the humanitarian system, and ongoing, effective humanitarian operations are now more essential than ever. OCHA is enabling this by:
- Working closely across the UN system, with UN Member States and the private sector to ensure funding and equipment is available to fight COVID-19 in the world’s most vulnerable countries.
- WHO has appealed for $675 million to fund the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. OCHA is now working with WHO and other humanitarian agencies and partners to coordinate a consolidated global humanitarian appeal.
- At the beginning of March, the Emergency Relief Coordinator released US$15 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help fund WHO and UNICEF’s efforts to contain the virus in vulnerable countries.
- OCHA is assessing the use of country-based pooled funds at the field level to help channel immediate support to COVID-related needs. In Afghanistan, the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund has already allocated $1.5 million for COVID-19 preparedness and response activities.
- OCHA is grateful for the generous donors of the Humanitarian Response Plans and stress the importance that resources and capacities are not diverted from these current life-saving activities.
- In the countries where it operates, OCHA is helping Resident Coordinators/Humanitarian Coordinators work closely with the host governments to prepare response plans to fight the virus and to ensure aid continues to reach those people most in need.
- OCHA has embedded staff in a new, dedicated coordination team and supply chain cell that has been established within WHO with other agencies in Geneva to support coordination, information management and logistical/supply chain issues in the humanitarian response system.
- Through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, the Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock is convening Principals from humanitarian agencies and NGOs to agree coordinated response measures.
Ensuring safe and effective humanitarian operations
- The UN and partners are maintaining humanitarian operations while taking precautions to ensure the safety of staff and the people we serve.
- UN agencies are currently assessing where and how humanitarian operations are being disrupted to try to identify solutions as quickly as possible.
- Raising awareness of COVID-19 among vulnerable communities
- OCHA is sharing WHO messaging across the humanitarian community and is supporting humanitarian country teams to develop consistent humanitarian messaging on COVID-19.
- OCHA is using its communication channels to raise awareness among humanitarian populations of how to protect themselves from COVID-19.