COVID-19 CASES INCREASE RAPIDLY IN AFRICA
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that, with more than 10,000 cases and nearly 500 deaths reported in Africa, the virus is threatening fragile health systems on the continent. Infections are increasingly spreading not only between African countries but also within different localities in the hardest-hit nations. Governments are implementing measures to contain the virus, but since many people live in crowded conditions and work in informal sectors, it is important that countries make provisions to ensure citizens can still access essential services. WHO is working closely with national governments and UN partners to plan for these needs. Adequate and prompt funding by the international community will be crucial to maintain and scale up assistance programmes.
MEASLES AND CHOLERA THREATEN CHILDREN IN DRC
DRC’s battered healthcare system needs urgent support as it struggles with measles and cholera epidemics that kill thousands of children, as well as the mounting threat from COVID-19, says UNICEF in a report released on 31 March. Since early 2019, a measles epidemic has killed more than 5,300 children under the age of 5, representing around 85% of the fatalities, while there have been some 31,000 cases of cholera, children making up 45% of cases. Coronavirus cases are also increasing fast, posing a major challenge to a country identified as one of the most at risk in Africa. UNICEF calls on the Government to allocate more of its budget for vital health care services supporting pregnant women, new-born and young children, and to prioritise the strengthening of routine immunization. In addition, the UN agency urges international donors to commit generous multi-year support to the Government’s efforts to revamp routine health care services.
NUMBER OF IDPs REACHES NEARLY 840,000
The government’s disaster management authority, CONASUR, indicates that, as of 25 March, some 838,548 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been registered in Burkina Faso. This figure represents a 7.5% increase since the end of February 2020, and a 50% increase since December 2019. Some 760,000, more than 90% of the IDPs, are displaced in three regions: Centre Nord (386,706), Sahel (310,059) and Nord (62,491).
COVID-19 RESPONSE FOR MOST VULNERABLE IN NORTH-EAST
On 31 March, the United Nations in Nigeria declared that it is taking emergency preparedness and response measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable crisis-affected people in northeastern Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. These measures also address immediate humanitarian consequences of the pandemic should it spread to the northeast region. In support of the national and state emergency management agencies, key activities are already being implemented in the region, steered by the global guidance on COVID-19 Outbreak Preparedness and Response, including installation of handwashing stations, supply of clean water, distribution of soap as well as sharing awareness-raising and prevention messages.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.