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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: India - Nepal - Sudan - Yemen

20 Jul 2020


A cargo plane arrives in Sana’a airport in Yemen with supplies provided by UNICEF to assist with COVID-19. Credit: UNICEF/Ibrahim Mohammed Fadel Al-Thalaya

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 20 July 2020

India/Nepal: Impact of floods

According to Indian authorities, nearly 4 million people have been displaced in India’s state of Assam and neighbouring Nepal due to heavy flooding from monsoon rains, while the death toll has risen to 189.

A red alert for heavy rains in Assam state has been issued till tomorrow, where more than 2.75 million people there have been displaced by three waves of floods since late May.

The UN stands ready to support the Government of India if required.

In neighbouring Nepal, authorities have issued warnings urging people living along riverbanks and low-land areas in Terai region to move to safe sites due to the possibility of floods.

Local authorities and the Nepal Red Cross Society are providing ongoing support. Search and rescue has been hampered by landslides in remote areas, which is also delaying the response.

Shelter, food and protection have been highlighted as key immediate needs. Other needs include the depletion of supplies due to the COVID-19 response and the need to relocate people in quarantine sites in areas at risk of flooding.

Access remains the biggest challenge, and discussions are ongoing with the World Food Programme (WFP) on how to reach affected communities, with helicopters the only viable option at present. 

With further rains and flooding expected, the Humanitarian Country Team is discussing further monsoon preparedness measures and scaling up coordination with provincial-level counterparts.

The UN stands ready to provide additional humanitarian support to the most vulnerable communities in Nepal.


Sudan: Updated HRP and COVID-19 response

In Sudan, the UN and humanitarian partners, in support of the Transitional Government of Sudan, launched yesterday a supplement to the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan to respond to increasing humanitarian needs in the country.

The Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Gwi-Yeop Son, called on the international community to scale up its support to Sudan to address the most immediate and critical needs of millions of people affected by the health and humanitarian consequences of COVID-19.

More than US$ 283 million is urgently needed to support the Government-led response and provide life-saving assistance to more than 6.7 million Sudanese, as the pandemic has triggered a further economic slowdown.

More than 9.6 million people – almost a quarter of the entire population – are facing severe hunger, the highest figure ever recorded in Sudan.

The UN and humanitarian partners are providing COVID-19 testing kits and other medical supplies. They have trained more than 1,600 health workers, distributed hygiene kits to nearly 500,000 people, and reached more than 25 million people with campaigns to raise awareness and prevent transmissions. At least 2.8 million people were reached with food assistance in May alone. 

To date, nearly 11,000 COVID-19 cases and 700 deaths have been reported by the Ministry of Health, despite the low testing capacity.


Yemen: COVID-19 update and response

Turning to Yemen, our humanitarian colleagues report that as of today, WHO has confirmed 1,610 cases of COVID-19, including 445 deaths. The fatality rate is alarmingly high, at more than 27 per cent – that is five times the global average. Actual infection numbers are much higher, as testing materials are in short supply.

Despite severe gaps in funding, aid agencies are racing to scale up the COVID-19 response. More than 10,000 metric tons (MT) of medical equipment, testing kits and medicine have been transported into the country, with more than 2,000 more in the pipeline. Beyond the 642,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) items that are currently available in-country, an additional 1.7 million assorted PPE items are to arrive this week.

The UN and partners are urgently expanding hospital capacity in key population centres, which includes establishing 21 new intensive care units (ICUs) in COVID-19-designated hospitals, adding to 38 existing ICUs.

Aid agencies are also working to ensure the 4,300 non-COVID health facilities continue to provide health-care services to prevent deaths from deadly diseases including cholera, diphtheria, dengue and malaria.

Critical COVID-19 and other humanitarian programmes are struggling to continue due to massive funding shortages.

Aid agencies require US$385.7 million in funding to support COVID-19 operations, including $304.5 million for health. As of today, the COVID-19 operation has received only $55.4 million received, or 14.4 per cent.