Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 2.7 million lives. More than 123 million COVID-19 infections have been reported. Billions of people around the world are suffering the indirect consequences of the pandemic. While a few countries have accelerated their vaccination programmes, the number of new infections is rising again in the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe and South-East Asia.
In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are launching revised, coordinated appeals.
This document explains:
- the response of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the Movement), which comprises the 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the IFRC and the ICRC
- the Movement-wide funding requirements.
It also places the Movement’s coordinated appeals in the context of significantly increasing humanitarian needs globally, related to both COVID-19 and other emergencies, and the need for longer-term investment.
The revised coordinated appeals2 seek a total of CHF 2.729 billion to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact.
COVID-19 continues to amplify inequalities, destabilize communities, jeopardize development gains and impede progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Beyond its dramatic health impacts, the COVID-19 crisis constitutes a crisis on top of other crises, exacerbating the vulnerability of people already at risk, whether owing to armed conflict, violence, disaster, other health emergencies, migration, food insecurity, limited access to health care and other services, discrimination or socioeconomic factors.
Despite governments’ efforts to maintain a balance between preventing large-scale community transmission of the virus and protecting their economies against socio-economic collapse, COVID-19 will have long-lasting repercussions for those most at risk and will create new vulnerabilities.
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines brings a glimpse of hope to people whose lives have been turned upside-down, but pressing challenges remain, such as:
- how to ensure equitable access across and within countries • how to identify and limit the propagation of more contagious variants
- how to ensure that measures such as vaccination passports do not further discriminate against already vulnerable groups.
The Movement will focus its efforts on those populations that are most at risk and most vulnerable.
Examples include providing home care or other solutions for people with disabilities and older people unable to reach vaccine centres, plus ensuring access for those who may be unable to register for vaccines, such as detainees or irregular migrants. Combating vaccine hesitancy and misinformation through risk communication and community engagement will also be priority actions in the coming months, to ensure the success of global COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
Meanwhile, no-one can ignore the effects of confinement measures or the unremitting pressure on the mental health and livelihoods of people all over the world – especially of vulnerable communities. Communities will still need support to reduce and mitigate the use of negative coping mechanisms and the impact of the pandemic on their livelihoods.
In this context, and in addition to responding to significantly increased humanitarian needs – resulting from multiple shocks during 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 and from the economic consequences of the pandemic – the Movement has continued to help communities contain the spread of the pandemic, including through its role in immunization. Furthermore, the Movement continues to address the deterioration in vulnerable people’s physical and mental health, their livelihoods and social cohesion, and to protect, assist and advocate for the most vulnerable as a matter of priority.