Whether it be information campaigns in Bangladesh or producing face masks in refugee camps in Iraq: in April, Germany made available 300 million euro in aid for humanitarian projects to fight COVID-19. Now, the German Government is increasing its support by an additional 150 million euro.
Germany is one of the largest humanitarian donors
The need for humanitarian assistance in connection with COVID-19 is growing. Every day, the number of people infected with the virus is rising. It is becoming increasingly clear that the consequences of the pandemic are particularly severe in countries in which people are already dependent on humanitarian assistance, or where the healthcare system is comparatively weak.
Germany is therefore making available an additional 150 million euro in humanitarian aid. As a result, Germany’s funding to fight COVID-19 is being increased to 450 million euro; this is in addition to the regular humanitarian assistance budget of 1.64 billion euro. This level of aid makes Germany one of the largest humanitarian donors in the world, also with regard to the coronavirus pandemic.
The German Government is responding to a United Nations appeal
With its new funding pledge, Germany is responding to the latest appeal by the United Nations. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres already issued a call for aid in March, and that figure was recently adjusted upwards again significantly. Back in March, the need was stated to be 2 billion US dollars; now, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that 10.3 billion US dollars will be required to provide assistance to people in 63 countries.
Moreover, experts predict the pandemic will have devastating medium to long-term economic and social consequences. According to prognoses issued by the World Food Programme, the number of people suffering acute hunger could nearly double by the end of 2020 – from 135 million to 265 million.
How the funds are making a difference: supporting everything from information campaigns to mask production With this additional funding, partner organisations of the Federal Foreign Office can carry on with current life-saving programmes and launch new ones. The first round of funding already enabled a wide range of assistance. For example, mothers and widows in a refugee camp in Iraq were taught how to sew face masks and were thereby able to both earn money and help protect the camp from coronavirus. Around 50,000 masks were produced in only a few days.
In Myanmar and the Central African Republic, market observation activities were initiated that enable a rapid response to any possible increases in food prices and bottlenecks that may arise in the food supply chain.
In Bangladesh and Venezuela, aid organisations are conducting information campaigns via the radio and in local communities to warn people about the dangers posed by the virus and to tell them what hygiene measures they must take.
Aware of the severity of the situation from the very start
By making available 300 million euro in humanitarian assistance, Germany was one of the first countries to pledge funds in late April. The main idea was that, on a global scale, communities that are barely able to protect themselves from the virus or from the consequences of the pandemic require special support. Experience has shown that early response in humanitarian emergencies is a key factor for minimising the effects, keeping them from becoming sustained challenges and preventing potential long-term consequences.
Meanwhile, more donors have joined the international humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries around the world have already made available 1.64 billion US dollars for COVID-19 assistance plans of the United Nations.