By Jeyhun Aliyev
ANKARA (AA) – The UN urged Sudan on Tuesday to coordinate with its organizations so “lifesaving aid” can continue to be provided to the country’s most vulnerable people, including to help combat the novel coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, it said 23 UN organizations are calling on Sudan’s government to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance in the country.
Calling the coronavirus pandemic the "largest global challenge since World War II,” Gwi Yeop Son, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, said the UN and its partners reached more than 7 million people in need in 2019 and plan to reach 6.1 million people this year.
“If not properly coordinated, aid delivery may be delayed or fail to go ahead as a consequence of COVID-19,” she said, adding the UN is "staying and delivering assistance" in the country.
Son said that as of April 7, there were 14 confirmed cases in Sudan and the number could "rapidly" increase.
The UN cited three areas where it needed to coordinate with Sudan’s government, including the fast track entry of health and humanitarian workers into the country, fast tracking or lifting travel restrictions within the country on essential people including medical and humanitarian workers inside Sudan, and allowing the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) to continue to undertake approved internal and external flights in line with critical lifesaving programming.
“Already, the United Nations is coordinating with Sudan’s government in some of these areas. But as COVID-19 spreads in Sudan, we need to ensure this cooperation continues so lifesaving operations can reach people in need,” she added.
The statement highlighted that around 9.3 million people require humanitarian support across Sudan this year and that the UN humanitarian plan in the country is only 14% funded.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the virus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows more than 1.42 million cases have been reported worldwide with the death toll more than 82,000 and over 300,000 recoveries.