As of 18 January 2021, there were 5,558,874 reported cases of COVID-19 within the countries covered by the region*. There has been a 69 percent increase in cases over the last two months (27 November – 17 January). Turkey registered the highest number of reported cases with an increase of 95 percent followed by Iran (79 percent), Iraq (36 percent), Morocco (27 percent), Jordan (19 percent) and Lebanon (15 percent). The sharp rise in the number of cases in Lebanon over the last month forced the country to apply a lockdown while restrictions introduced by the Governments of Jordan, Turkey and Iran by the end of November still remain in place.
According to the December 2020 update on the Impact of COVID-19 in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, WFP estimates that 54.5 million people are acutely food insecure in the region due to the compounding effects of COVID-19, up 32 percent from pre-COVID estimates. With lockdowns in place in many countries, people running independent businesses or working in the informal sector were more likely to lose their income or job and adopt severe coping strategies to sustain consumption and livelihoods.
A total of USD 1.56 billion is required for the region for the next six months (February – July 2021). This represents 68 percent of the total requirements for the same period (of USD 4.2 billion). .