UN / COVID-19 HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

25-Mar-2020 00:03:51
To confront the unprecedented worldwide challenge posed by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, top UN officials on Wednesday, launched a massive humanitarian appeal to mitigate its impact, particularly on fragile countries with weak health systems. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / COVID-19 HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
TRT: 3:51
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 25 MARCH 2020, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Aerial shot, UN headquarters exterior

25 MARCH 2020, NEW YORK CITY

2. Med shot, Melissa Fleming introducing Guterres
3. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“The world faces an unprecedented threat. The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly covered the globe. It has spread suffering, disrupted billions of lives and endangered the global economy. COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back. Individual country responses are not going to be enough.”
4. Med shot, UN officials on screen
5. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“We must come to the aid of the ultra-vulnerable – millions upon millions of people who are least able to protect themselves. This is a matter of basic human solidarity. And it is also crucial for combatting the virus. The world is only as strong as our weakest health system. If we do not act decisively now, I fear the virus will establish a foothold in the most fragile countries, leaving the whole world vulnerable as it continues to circle the planet, paying no mind to borders. This is the moment to step up for the vulnerable.”
6. Med shot, UN officials on screen
7. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“Today we are launching a two billion USD global humanitarian response plan to fund the fight against COVID-19 in the world’s poorest countries. Coordinated by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, this interagency plan brings together existing appeals from the World Health Organization and other UN partners, and identifies new needs as well. Properly funded, it will save many lives and arm humanitarian agencies and NGOs with laboratory supplies for testing, and with medical equipment to treat the sick while protecting health care workers.”

RECENT – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

8. Wide shot, WHO emblem outside headquarters

25 MARCH 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

9. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO): “Our message to all countries is clear: heed this warning now, back this plan politically and financially today, and we can save lives and slow the spread of this pandemic. History will judge us on how we responded to the poorest communities in their darkest hour. Let’s act together, and right now.”

25 MARCH 2020, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

10. SOUNDBITE (English) Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
“Children are the hidden victims of this pandemic. We’re worried about its short- and long-term impacts on their health, well-being, development and prospects.”
11. Med shot, UN officials on screen
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
“We’re particularly worried about the millions of children on the move or living through conflicts. For them, the consequences of this pandemic will be unlike any that we have seen. These children live in overcrowded conditions. As the Secretary-General mentioned they are often in active war zones, with limited or non-existent access to health care. A family of six, eight, ten, or twelve can be living in one room. So, self-isolation and handwashing with soap will not be easy, and some case impossible, in these environments. And that is why funding this global humanitarian response plan for COVID-19 is so essential.”

25 MARCH 2020, NEW YORK CITY

13. Med shot, UN officials on screen
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“So, funding this plan by withdrawing funds from ongoing humanitarian responses would be entirely counterproductive. Not only would it undermine the ability of these countries to handle the virus. It would undermine our efforts to combat COVID-19 globally.”

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

15. Aerial shot, UN headquarters exterior
STORYLINE
The United Nations launched today a two billion USD global humanitarian response plan to “fund the fight against COVID-19 in the world’s poorest countries.”

Speaking to reporters today (25 Mar) via teleconference from New York, UN chief António Guterres said, “COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back. Individual country responses are not going to be enough.”

Guterres stressed, “We must come to the aid of the ultra-vulnerable – millions upon millions of people who are least able to protect themselves. This is a matter of basic human solidarity. And it is also crucial for combatting the virus. The world is only as strong as our weakest health system. If we do not act decisively now, I fear the virus will establish a foothold in the most fragile countries, leaving the whole world vulnerable as it continues to circle the planet, paying no mind to borders. This is the moment to step up for the vulnerable.”

The Secretary-General said the two billion USD humanitarian response plan will be coordinated by the UN humanitarian office (OCHA) and is an interagency plan that “brings together existing appeals from the World Health Organization and other UN partners, and identifies new needs as well.” He said it the plan is properly funded, “it will save many lives and arm humanitarian agencies and NGOs with laboratory supplies for testing, and with medical equipment to treat the sick while protecting health care workers.”

WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus said the pandemic has accelerated over the last two weeks. He said while COVID-19 is a threat to people everywhere, what’s most worrying is the danger the virus poses to people already affected by crisis and implored leaders to stand together and heed this appeal.

Tedros said the new global humanitarian response plan builds on existing efforts and sets a six-point action plan for how to prepare and respond to this emergency: preparing the public the public for the critical measures needed to help suppress the spread, ramping up surveillance and lab testing, prioritizing treatment for those at highest risk of severe illness, slowing, suppressing and stopping transmission to reduce the burden on health care facilities, and sharing lessons learned and innovations to improve surveillance, prevention, and treatment.

SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO): “Our message to all countries is clear: heed this warning now, back this plan politically and financially today and we can save lives and slow the spread of this pandemic. History will judge us on how we responded to the poorest communities in their darkest hour. Let’s act together, right now.”


UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said children are the “hidden victims of this pandemic.” She said UNICEF was worried about its “short- and long-term impacts on their health, well-being, development and prospects.”

Fore said, “We’re particularly worried about the millions of children on the move or living through conflicts. For them, the consequences of this pandemic will be unlike any that we have seen. These children live in overcrowded conditions. As the Secretary-General mentioned they are often in active war zones, with limited or non-existent access to health care. A family of six, eight, ten, or twelve can be living in one room. So, self-isolation and handwashing with soap will not be easy, and some case impossible, in these environments. And that is why funding this global humanitarian response plan for COVID-19 is so essential.”

UNICEF is alone is appealing for USD 405 million for its response in emergency countries. It is also seeking an additional USD 246.6 million for its response in non-emergency countries, for a total of USD 651.6 million.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said the plan would address immediate humanitarian consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in countries already facing other humanitarian crises across South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Lowcock said the appeal will be regularly updated, to keep pace with this virus’ spread and impact. He stressed that, with a pandemic of this nature, there can be no half measures. He called on governments to pledge their support to the response plan and to continue to support existing humanitarian response plans. He underscored that if funding is diverted from existing operations to tackle COVID-19, this would create circumstances in which cholera, measles and meningitis can thrive, in which even more children become malnourished, and in which extremists can take control.

The UN humanitarian chief said, “So funding this plan by withdrawing funds from ongoing humanitarian responses would be entirely counterproductive. Not only would it undermine the ability of these countries to handle the virus. It would undermine our efforts to combat COVID-19 globally.”
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