UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is increasing its appeal to fight the coronavirus pandemic in fragile and vulnerable countries from $2 billion to $6.7 billion.
U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock reiterated that the peak of the pandemic is not expected to hit the world’s poorest countries for three to six months. But he said there is already evidence of incomes plummeting and jobs disappearing, food supplies falling and prices soaring, and children missing vaccinations and meals.
Since the original appeal on March 25, the U.N. said $1 billion has been raised to support efforts across 37 fragile countries to tackle COVID-19.
The updated appeal launched Thursday includes nine additional vulnerable countries: Benin, Djibouti, Liberia, Mozambique, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zimbabwe.
Lowcock said “in the poorest countries we can already see economies contracting as export earnings, remittances and tourism disappear.
“Unless we take action now, we should be prepared for a significant rise in conflict, hunger and poverty,” he warned. “The specter of multiple famines looms.”