IOM scales up plans to fight Covid-19, appeals for $116.1m

he pandemic has so far claimed over 10,000 lives worldwide

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has scaled up its plans to address the mobility aspects of the global response to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) with a new funding requirement of $116.1 million.

In a report, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Covid-19 has claimed around 8,700 lives and affected at least 166 countries with about 210,000 confirmed cases, a press release of the UN migration agency said on Thursday.

The number of deaths as of Friday morning, stood over 10,000, according to worldometers.

The governments around the world are working together to prevent the spread of the disease, boosting surveillance, detection, and treatment efforts, reallocating resources, restricting travel, imposing quarantines and more.

The Covid-19 outbreak – which is first and foremost a health crisis – is fast becoming the largest mobility crisis ever seen, the IOM said.

“It is changing patterns of and acceptance toward migration, services offered by airlines, attitudes towards foreigners, as well as border and migration management regimes. An unprecedented number of people are becoming stranded on their journeys.”

As a result, some United Nations interventions, including refugee resettlement operations, have been scaled back or suspended temporarily.

Building on a first plan launched on February 20, the revised IOM Covid-19 Global Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SRP) covered all regions of the world, and comprised a wide range of ongoing and planned activities including emergence of humanitarian needs in new settings, cross-border coordination, capacity-building for government staff on disease surveillance, setting up or enhancing hand washing facilities at entry points, support with case management, monitoring and mapping of people’s movements within and across borders, improvement of displacement sites to ensure site safety and hygiene and that livelihoods are sustained, and the dissemination of information on how to stay healthy, specifically targeting migrants, refugees and displaced persons, it said.

According to the press statement, the plans described in the revised SRP spanned 10 areas of work and included coordination and partnerships, risk communication and community engagement, disease surveillance, point of entry, national laboratory system, infection prevention and control, case management and continuity of essential services, protection, displacement tracking, as well as logistics, procurement and supply chain management.

The geographic prioritization of the appeal is based on existing national and IOM capacities. Over $43.4 million are to cover interventions in Eastern, Western and Southern Africa, more than $24.5 million are to be dedicated to the Asia-Pacific region, more than $17 million are for the Middle East and Northern Africa, over $13.6 million are for the Americas and, the remainder will support activities in Europe and Central Asia, as well as global interventions, it said.

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The new appeal complements and is aligned with the WHO’s Covid-19 Global Preparedness and Response Plan, issued on February 3, as well as the upcoming Inter-Agency Standing Committee Humanitarian Response Plan, led by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the press statement added.