The COVID-19 operation is a unique response for the IFRC. Our IFRC-wide approach (the IFRC Secretariat and our 192 member National Societies) reflects both the local and global nature of this operation. The response is primarily a local response, with our National Societies responding to the local needs of those affected by COVID19 in their own countries, based on their domestic Response Plans.
At the same time, this is a truly global response, showing the international solidarity of the IFRC’s network of member National Societies, working together with IFRC Secretariat support to mobilize and coordinate global assistance to sister National Societies, provide health guidance, design tailored and innovative solutions to social and economic needs, strengthen National Societies’ capacities and reach, and leverage logistics supply chains, to enable the IFRC to respond to the immense and ever-changing demands of COVID-19. The global IFRC response is also coordinated with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to leverage the complementarity of all members of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
This revised Appeal has been adapted to present the global reach and work of the wider IFRC and reflects the global IFRC-wide funding requirement, comprising all support and funding channelled to our National Societies. The Appeal also contains the specific ask for funds channelled through the IFRC Secretariat, to assist our National Societies through our offices in Geneva, the regions and at country level. This revised Appeal is therefore presented in a different format to highlight the priorities of the IFRC-wide work and the support of the Secretariat. The IFRC response will be delivered by the National Societies’ staff and volunteers on the ground.
THE CURRENT CRISIS AND TIMELINE
COVID-19 is directly impacting the lives of millions of people around the world. The pandemic threatens every aspect of their lives, amplifying inequalities, destabilising communities and threatening development gains and progress towards the SDGs. Measures taken to control and suppress transmission of the virus and mitigate its impact on health systems have caused massive disruptions to the global economy that will have long-lasting socio-economic impact on the global population. Without effective suppression and control measures in all areas with active outbreaks, the pandemic can be expected to continue to grow over the months to come. Case fatality rates vary between countries and contexts and are expected to increase in contexts where limited care is available, or where there are greater underlying health vulnerabilities, including in fragile or complex contexts or in overpopulated urban slums, where people lack access to services. Mitigation measures are also severely compromising protection mechanisms and community safety structures for those most at risk of violence, exploitation and abuse and are increasing barriers to healthcare, socio-economic support and vital information. Whatever the context, epidemic control interventions will only be effective when they are relevant, contextually appropriate and co-owned by affected populations, and when two-way trust has been established between governments, care providers and affected populations. As some countries start to relax their containment measures, others are gearing up their response or preparing for second waves of the outbreak. Based on evidence from previous epidemics and pandemics, a second or third wave can be more serious than the first, causing more deaths and a more severe impact. Further waves of the virus can be caused by the movement of people, poverty and lack of safe space, social behaviour, and local health policies, capacities and infrastructure, as well potential virus mutations. In this scenario, National Societies are well placed to support communitylevel public health measures to prevent and control multiple outbreaks and to respond to the local economic and social cohesion needs.
Those living in fragile, complex, and protracted humanitarian contexts are already facing serious consequences from COVID-19, due to poor economic conditions and to a lack of universal access to public health services, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, and other support services. It is expected that, people with symptoms may not seek health care due to a lack of safe access to facilities or to information, fearing stigma, discrimination or the loss of income that may result. This is particularly the case for migrants, refugees and displaced populations, those in urban slums and excluded groups, such as older people, women and girls, disabled people, and others who are living in unsafe and difficult conditions. Limited digital infrastructure dramatically limits access to information, education and business continuity options, which can reduce the ability save lives. The capacity to provide necessary levels of services, including the provision of vital assistance and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), further increases the existing high levels of risk for first responders and hampers the efforts to avert the futher growth of the outbreak. COVID-19 is compounded by other hazards in countries experiencing major disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, cyclones, droughts, and infestations, as well as conflicts, and demands levels of planning and resourcing to sustain a response on all fronts.