As the COVID-19 global pandemic spreads across the globe, vulnerable populations including the world’s more than 70 million displaced people will be among the hardest hit. Economies and job markets are bearing enormous strain, with millions out of work amid shelter in place orders. Governments around the world are attempting to provide the necessary testing, tracing, and care to those suffering from the virus without sufficient resources or health care systems. Border restrictions and struggling supply chains mean it is harder to deliver aid to those who need it.
As countries struggle to keep up, underlying vulnerabilities among displaced populations in need are exacerbating the effects of the crisis. This year, the world is facing skyrocketing food insecurity, increased intensity of natural disasters, and underlying health issues especially among children.
Available funding is in no way sufficient. Without an end in sight, the ultimate scale and scope of the COVID-19 crisis is still unknown.
But one thing is certain: if we, people, do not step up now, the worst is yet to come.
The consequences of large funding gaps will not surprise anyone: without needed resources, there will be exacerbated health problems and a delay in the delivery of lifesaving aid.
But there is a more important reason to act: there is a moral imperative in this time of need. Donors have traditionally understood the importance of such investments in an international response. The work that funding supports, from food assistance to medical care to livelihood programming to strengthening responses for children, is essential and saves lives.
We don’t know how far this crisis will escalate the vulnerabilities for populations worldwide. But we do know significant and urgent investment in international assistance is the right—and necessary—thing to do.