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World Bank launches COVID-19 relief fund in Sudan

October 24, 2020

An emergency fund of $21.99 million, including $10 million contributed by Saudi Arabia, to combat COVID-19 in Sudan was launched yesterday by the World Bank in cooperation with the Ministry of Health at the Medical Supplies Hall in Khartoum.

The Saudi ambassador in Khartoum, Ali bin Hasan Jaafar, gave a statement at the ceremony. Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to support the UN response plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic, with an amount of $500 million to the World Health Organisation, said the ambassador.

He referred to medical convoys sent by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, which launched an appeal in September after Sudan’s National Security and Defence Council declared a State of Emergency, calling the country “a natural disaster area”. The centre and its local partners provided aid to a number of Sudanese states, along with 105,000 tons of medical supplies and equipment to the Ministry of Health last month.

Last week, 39 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the country. The majority of the cases was registered in Khartoum. So far, 13,724 people in Sudan have tested positive for coronavirus this year. 836 patients died and 6,764 recovered.

The Central Pharmacists’ Committee warned of catastrophic effects due to an almost complete lack of essential, life-saving, and chronic disease drugs across the country. In addition, the WFP has called for strengthening food systems as multiple crises drive up numbers of hungry people in Sudan.

Following the unprecedented rains and floods that affected 875,000 people across Sudan, there are concerns that more than 4.5 million people are now at risk of vector-borne diseases, UNOCHA reported yesterday.

Last week, the Secretary General of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies described the situation due to floods and torrential rains in Sudan as “terrible”, adding that the appeal launched for emergency aid has not found the response it deserves.

Only 15% of the money appealed for by the societies has been pledged, according to the general.

The official said that what really matters most is the impact on children, women and other vulnerable groups. “In fact, in many ways, this is a pediatric emergency as about half of those affected are children.”

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