The UN has called for the international community to fund a new coronavirus transport network designed to bring equipment, personnel and cargo to the most vulnerable countries.
In an open letter, UN chiefs revealed they had raised just a quarter of the $2bn they had requested for their emergency coronavirus response, and warned that if nations didn’t “step up… the global response could stutter to a halt”.
The UN agency heads called for $350m to be earmarked for a new logistics network, co-ordinated via the UN World Food Programme, to “serve as air and cargo bridges to move key personnel and equipment as conventional air traffic has shut down, or movement has been restricted”.
Mark Lowcock, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, told the Guardian that Yemen remained the country in greatest need of help. “The most difficult place is Yemen, partly for funding reasons,” he said. “We feed 13 million people there every month but are in process of closing 31 of 40 main programmes over the next several weeks.
“If we can’t keep getting supplies in and out there’s going to be a huge tragedy. Central African Republic is also difficult as is Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.”