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Red Cross increases budget by over $2bn to fight coronavirus

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Red Cross

The Red Cross said Thursday it was seeking $3.2 billion for its coronavirus crisis response — a huge increase on the $825 million figure it sought when it launched its COVID-19 appeal in March.

The global humanitarian network said it needed to scale up its response urgently to assist the world’s most vulnerable people during the pandemic — and, crucially, afterwards in tackling the “long-lasting social and economic repercussions”.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement said the pandemic had amplified inequalities in society, destabilised communities and reversed development gains made in the past decade.

The movement consists of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and 192 national-level societies.

“In fragile humanitarian contexts, the COVID-19 pandemic is creating new vulnerabilities for people who are already most at risk,” said IFRC secretary general Jagan Chapagain.

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“We now face a crisis on top of a crisis with worsening poverty and food insecurity alongside crippling economic conditions and a lack of public health services, safe water, sanitation and hygiene.”

The IFRC is appealing for $1.95 billion to support national societies in providing health care, water and sanitation, and mitigation against the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic on the most vulnerable people.

Meanwhile, the ICRC is seeking $1.24 billion in order to respond in conflict zones, support medical facilities and places of detention, and to curb the spread of the virus among displaced people and detainees and ensure they have access to medical treatment.

“This pandemic is creating crisis-level needs that will endure long into the future, whether for mental health support, conflict zone medical aid or livelihood assistance,” said ICRC director-general Robert Mardini.

“The ICRC is working… at the intersection of the pandemic, armed conflict and violence to ensure that we assist both now and beyond the pandemic’s immediate effects to help families in the long-run.”

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