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OCHA: $34m needed to counter coronavirus spread in Palestine

April 3, 2020 at 3:00 am

A group of volunteer youth carry out disinfection work during the coronavirus pandemic in Gaza on 29 March 2020 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) announced that the response plan prepared by the Regional Humanitarian Team to counter the coronavirus, requires $34 million to prevent the further spread of the virus in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The United Nations (UN) stressed in a report that the Palestinian health system’s ability to deal with an expected increase in the number of patients remains severely limited due to the long-term challenges and critical shortages it is experiencing, especially in the Gaza Strip.

“The West Bank and occupied Jerusalem include the most vulnerable groups, whose condition may require extensive medical care, including the elderly, people suffering from hypertension, lung diseases, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” explained OCHA.

It further described that people living in refugee camps and other poor and densely populated areas across the occupied Palestinian territories are at a greater risk of infection, due to overcrowding and poor sanitation systems.

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The UN pointed out that on 27 March, the Regional Humanitarian Team in the occupied Palestinian land launched an adjusted version of the inter-agency response plan to tackle COVID-19, covering the next three months.

The organisation indicated that the team launched an appeal to provide $34 million to prevent further transmission of the virus in the occupied Palestinian land, to provide adequate care to infected patients and to support their families, to mitigate the worst effects of this pandemic.

The UN confirmed that until now, 24 per cent of the response plan prepared by the Regional Humanitarian Team has been funded, including a provision of $4.8 million that will soon be granted by the Humanitarian Fund, after redirecting the first standard allocations allocated by the fund.

UNRWA has also launched an urgent independent appeal, requesting $14 million to cover COVID-19 interventions in its five areas of operations, for the next ninety days.