International Rescue Committee: The world’s most vulnerable face conflict, Covid-19 and climate change in 2021, report says

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The coronavirus, combined with climate change and conflict, is expected to exacerbate long-standing crises in many developing countries next year, according to a new report from the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a leading US humanitarian group.
Despite the severity of the pandemic, the direct impact of Covid-19 in areas where IRC operates has been less damaging than feared, the organization’s CEO David Milliband said on Tuesday. But it has had disastrous side effects, he added, including disrupting supply chains, causing food insecurity in some countries and pushing people away from hospitals, resulting in ill treatment for d ‘other diseases, especially malaria.

Many of them make life worse in countries on the IRC’s annual emergency watchlist, which identifies places at risk for humanitarian disasters. The extreme poverty caused by lockdowns and border closures, for example, could trigger famines in South Sudan, Burkina Faso and Yemen, she warns.

Yemen tops the organization’s watch list this year, raising particular concern as a nation that has also been plagued by years of war. Afghanistan torn apart by conflict, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia are among the top five countries on the list.

In total, the 20 countries on the IRC’s list represent just 10% of the world’s population, but represent 85% of those in humanitarian needs, he says. “Watchlist 2021 reveals that the world is facing both unprecedented humanitarian emergencies as well as a political crisis of inaction and global withdrawal from humanitarian obligations,” the IRC said in a statement on Monday.

While Milliband has described the development of Covid-19 vaccines as an overwhelmingly positive story due to the cooperation of private companies and public entities in the research and development of a wide range of vaccines in record time, he highlighted the difficulty of obtaining and distributing doses for countries where both funding and health infrastructure are limited.

Asked by CNN about the possible delivery of vaccines to developing countries next year, the IRC chief was not optimistic.

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