A United Nations report has revealed that the current Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly increasing the number of people who require humanitarian assistance. The report states that extreme poverty has increased dramatically in the past year as a result of the pandemic. A shocking one in 33 people will require aid in order to meet their basic requirements to survive, including food, water and sanitation in the coming year, 2021. This is an increase of 40 per cent which roughly translates to 235 million around the globe. The countries most affected are Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Yemen where a large-scale famine is imminent. The Syrian crisis is also particularly concerning with its overspill to neighbouring countries. Due to the millions of Syrians forced to flee the ongoing conflict. In addition, countries like Haiti, Nigeria, South Sudan, Ukraine and Venezuela also face severe hardship in the coming year. The shameful, illegal and morally corrupt sanctions imposed by the United States on Venezuela and Syria will only add to the suffering of the people in these countries. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated “Humanitarian aid budgets face dire shortfalls as the impact of the global pandemic continues to worsen. The lives of people … already living on a knife’s edge are being hit disproportionately hard by rising food prices, falling incomes, interrupted vaccination programs and school closures.”The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) hopes to reach 160 million of the 235 million in need. Which is a massive shortfall. The OCHA has said “The picture we’re painting this year is the bleakest and darkest perspective on humanitarian needs we’ve ever set out, and that’s because the pandemic has reaped carnage across the most fragile and vulnerable countries on the planet,” said UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock, who heads OCHA. For the first time since the 1990s, extreme poverty is going to increase, life expectancy will fall, the annual death toll from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria is set to double. We fear a near doubling in the number of people facing starvation.”Once again the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. The fact that the new vaccine has already been bought up by the richest countries shows that the ruling class have only contempt for the working class and poor of the world. The United Nations must be given the power, support and funding they require to ensure that the looming prospect of suffering for so many working class people worldwide is tackled fairly and that there is equity in the distribution of the vaccine.
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