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UN asking for billions to battle coronavirus in world’s poorest countries

UN asking for billions to battle coronavirus in world’s poorest countries
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TANZANIA, Tanzania — The United Nations called on governments, companies and billionaires Thursday to contribute to a US$6.7 billion fund for immediate needs in fighting the coronavirus pandemic in vulnerable countries, warning that a failure to help could lead to a “hunger pandemic,” famine, riots and more conflict.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said that “COVID-19 has now affected every country and almost every person on the planet.”

He said the U.N.’s initial $2 billion (all figures U.S.) appeal unveiled March 25 was being increased because there is already evidence of incomes plummeting and jobs disappearing, food supplies falling and prices soaring, and children missing vaccinations and meals. He added that the peak of the pandemic isn’t expected to hit the world’s poorest countries for three to six months.

Lowcock said in a video briefing launching the new appeal that the poorest countries face “a double whammy”  the health impact of COVID-19 and “the impact of the global recession and the domestic measures taken to contain the virus.”

Coronavirus outbreak: UN agency says at least 300,000 Africans expected to die due to virus

Coronavirus outbreak: UN agency says at least 300,000 Africans expected to die due to virus

“We must be prepared for a rise in conflict, hunger, poverty and disease as economies contract, export earnings, remittances and tourism disappear, and health systems are put under strain,” he warned. “Lockdowns and economic recession may mean a hunger pandemic ahead for millions.”

The executive director of the World Food Program, David Beasley, said there are two keys to averting the possibility of 265 million people being on the brink of famine by the end of the year: providing money and keeping supply chains running smoothly.

The U.N. appeals to wealthy nations for funding all the time, he said, but the pandemic is “a one-time phenomena, a catastrophe we’re hitting,” so it’s not unreasonable to ask the wealthiest people and the wealthiest companies to give.
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