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Mogadishu (SD) – Today, the United Nations and partners in Somalia launched the Somalia COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan (CPRP) to address the immediate humanitarian impact and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

“The impact of COVID-19 is bound to be devastating,” said Mr. Adam Abdelmoula, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia. “The priority now is to avert large-scale community transmission by scaling up risk communications, testing, contact tracing and management of cases.”

From one case confirmed on 16 March, COVID-19 cases in Somalia spiked to 286 as of 22 April, including 15 health workers. Within this period, the pandemic has impacted on the economy and livelihoods; imports have declined, commodity prices have increased, remittances have declined and school closures in March left about 1 million children without access to education.

The CPRP provides a six-to-nine-month framework for humanitarian and development agencies to adapt their programmes to the changing context and scale up interventions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The focus is on the ‘nexus’ between humanitarian, development and peacebuilding work. Implementation will be aligned to support the Federal Government of Somalia COVID-19 preparedness and response plans.

“We are working closely with the Federal Government of Somalia, state authorities and all our partners, to address this unprecedented crisis,” said Mr. Abdelmoula. “I urge donors to urgently support this plan and front-load their contributions to enable aid agencies rapidly scale up the response to COVID-19.”

The CPRP plan seeks US$501 million. It gives priority to the most vulnerable Somalis including 2.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) who live in more than 2,000 overcrowded settlements with limited access to healthcare, water and sanitation services, and livelihoods. The plan considers the elderly – approximately 2.7 per cent of the population – and the urban poor as people who could be worst affected by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic comes as Somalia grapples with a protracted humanitarian crisis, brought on by years of conflict, climate-related emergencies and widespread poverty. This year, disease outbreaks, anticipated flooding and a locust infestation will aggravate the crisis further.

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