The efforts by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support front-line life-saving health and water and sanitation responses by non-governmental organizations to COVID-19 in select countries got a boost after the IOM received $25 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
Four African countries will benefit from the release of the funds: the Central African Republic, Libya, South Sudan and Sudan.
All four of the countries are struggling with political and socio-economic challenges which have been exacerbated by the effects of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the four, Sudan is the worst affected by the pandemic registering more than 8,500 cases and more than 500 deaths.
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock announced the release of the funds on Tuesday noting that the move will allow NGOs to access humanitarian funding in the same way United Nations agencies do. This will, in turn, help them deliver “swift, cost-effective and life-saving humanitarian response operations”.
“As we fight the spread of COVID-19 in countries already facing humanitarian crises, the work of front-line responders is more important than ever. Because of them, people who desperately need clean drinking water, health care and sanitation – the basics you need to fight the virus – are getting them, wherever they are,” Lowcock said in a statement.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said that this disbursement strengthens ongoing support to the COVID-19 response through the CERF and the Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPF) allow donors to pool their contributions into single, unearmarked funds to support local humanitarian efforts.
According to the UNOCHA, the CERF has provided humanitarian assistance totaling $6.5 billion to millions of people across more than 100 countries and territories since its inception.