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Humanitarian agencies bring aid to 117 mln of world's most vulnerable people: UN
update:April 26,2020
UNITED NATIONS, April 26,2020 -- Humanitarian organizations are building global supply chains to deliver to the world's 117 million most vulnerable people protective and medical equipment needed in the fight against COVID-19, a UN spokesman said on Friday.
"Our humanitarian colleagues are telling us that aid groups - large and small - are supporting the world's most vulnerable people in the fight against COVID-19," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Joining the United Nations are international agencies such as the Red Cross down to smaller, more local, humanitarian organizations.
"Lockdowns, curfews and restrictions on movements of personnel and cargo are impacting the humanitarian response, but aid workers are determined to continue their life-saving work to continue to help some 117 million people around the world," Dujarric said.
Humanitarian organizations are carrying out efforts ranging from working to build global supply chains and air bridges to delivering masks and medical equipment to communicating life-saving messages from cars and bicycles, he said.
One example cited during his regular, virtual briefing to correspondents was the situation in Afghanistan, which Dujarric said is turning into "a food and livelihood crisis."
According to humanitarian colleagues in Afghanistan, food prices in urban markets have increased significantly since mid-March against the backdrop of an ongoing response to conflict and natural disaster-driven food insecurity, he said. "We, along with our humanitarian partners, are providing double food aid rations, and phased distributions are being implemented to limit the potential spread of the virus."
He said that because of international flight suspensions into the country, the UN Humanitarian Air Service started air-bridge services connecting flights from Kabul to Doha on Thursday. Flights are transit only and are expected three times a week, pending demand.
To support the humanitarian response by all, the United Nations is urging access through the fast-tracking at borders and within countries of health and aid workers and supplies, the spokesman said.
The humanitarian system urgently needs funding to continue to fight the virus while maintaining critical pre-existing programs, he said. However, the 2-billion-U.S.-dollar COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, launched last month by the secretary-general, has received only 697 million U.S. dollars. 
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