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COVID-19 Data Explorer: Global Humanitarian Operations Monthly Highlights, 31 March 2021

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Top 5 highlights to know:

• In March, more than 5.1 million new cases and 120,000 deaths were recorded in countries in the Global Humanitarian Overview – a 70% increase in cases and a 32% increase in deaths from February. Attribution is difficult, but the surge in cases and deaths could be explained by a combination of the spread of new variants, the lack of widespread access to vaccines, and the relaxation of and dwindling compliance with public health and social measures.

• Ten countries with an inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) are experiencing a consistent rise in cases and deaths. Yemen experienced an 85% increase in reported cases and 39% increase in deaths over the previous month. Seven of the countries reported their highest case numbers and five countries their highest number of deaths since the start of the pandemic. Five countries have verified at least one Variant of Concern (VOC) and all ten countries border countries with verified VOCs.

• Vaccines are being delivered to HRP countries, but in relatively small quantities. In March, COVAX delivered over 9.2 million doses to 11 countries bringing the total number of COVAX deliveries in HRP countries to 11 million. This is approximately 15 per cent of the 73 million doses that COVAX aims to deliver in the first round to HRP countries, which it aims to conclude by end of May. A further 3.6 million doses are estimated to have been donated by other countries to HRP countries or procured directly by national authorities in March.

• Lower administration of vaccines remains a challenge in HRP countries. Based on available data, of the 21 million doses delivered in HRP countries only 3.5 million have been administered. As of 31 March, for every 165 people globally receiving a dose of COVID-19 vaccine only one person resided in a country with a Humanitarian Response Plan.

• Since the start of the pandemic, the International Financial Institutions have provided $68.7 billion to 46 countries in the GHO. Countries with a humanitarian response plan have received the least funding, with half receiving less than $23 per person.

Three issues to monitor in April:

• Rising cases and deaths in humanitarian settings and their impact on health capacity and humanitarian operations. Although not included in the top ten, the consistent rise of cases in Colombia over the past month is cause for concern, particularly given the presence of the P.1 variant. It is also important to continue to monitor the situation in Cameroon. Data on cases and deaths is less frequently reported making it difficult to assess the trajectory of the pandemic, however data available in March appears to indicate a significant increase compared to previous months.

• Government measures to contain the pandemic in humanitarian emergencies, including restrictions on movement and potential impact on access to services, employment, and humanitarian operations.

• COVAX Funding – on 15 April, the United States will host the launch event for the Gavi COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) 2021 investment opportunity to galvanize resources and commitment to COVAX. The amount of funding mobilized will impact the scale and speed of COVAX deliveries to HRP countries in the coming months.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.