Syria Humanitarian Fund commits $23m for rapid support to communities to contain COVID-19 [EN/AR]
The Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF) has released US$23 million to provide rapid, life-saving support to communities across Syria to fight the spread of COVID-19, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Mr. Imran Riza, announced today. The funds will prioritize interventions in health, water and sanitation, protection, and logistics support, including early investments in reinforcing preparedness, such as infection prevention and control, and strengthening testing and tracing capacity.
“COVID-19 is an unprecedented global health, humanitarian and socio-economic crisis which disproportionately affects the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” said Mr. Riza. “This contribution from the Syria Humanitarian Fund will go directly towards urgent and decisive action that will help curb transmission of the virus, protect frontline health workers, and support vulnerable communities who can ill-afford the destructive impacts of the pandemic.”
The SHF, managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, will provide funding to 27 partners across 32 projects. Approximately 63 per cent of funds will go to UN agencies (US$14.4 million) and 21 per cent to international NGOs ($4.7 million). To enhance localized, community-based interventions, the SHF has also continued to invest in national NGOs, with 12 per cent of funds allocated to national NGOs ($2.9 million), and 4 per cent to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent ($1 million).
Through the SHF’s partners, support will include procurement of personal protective equipment to safeguard the wellbeing of health workers, and critical hospital and laboratory supplies to bolster the capacity to test and treat patients. Communities in need will be provided increased access to water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to reduce the risk of infection. Additionally, on 10 May, to support a greater reach across Syria, the SHF allocated $1.5 million to support establishment of UN humanitarian air services (UNHAS) in Syria to facilitate reliable, air access to areas otherwise not easily accessible.
COVID-19, while primarily a public health crisis, can also profoundly impact vulnerable communities socially and economically. To this end, $2.8 million will support protection, including through cash assistance, psychosocial services, and aid to the elderly and people with disabilities.
This timely support to confront the challenges of COVID-19 was made possible by new and extraordinary global flexibility guidelines for OCHA-managed country-based pool funds. To enable immediate action to stem the impacts of the virus, OCHA prioritized a flexible, simplified approach to expedite the current allocation, while retaining a robust risk management strategy.
“The unique flexibility of the SHF empowers our partners to reach more people with prompt, principled and more equitable assistance, wherever in Syria they may be. I also express my sincere thanks to the SHF’s donors for their ongoing partnership. Their support at this critical time will help keep communities safe, reinforce their resilience, ultimately help slow, suppress and stop the spread of COVID-19.”
About the Syria Humanitarian Fund
The Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF), initiated in June 2014, is led by the Humanitarian Coordinator supported by the Advisory Board, to support the delivery of strategic humanitarian response while retaining the flexibility to allocate funds to unforeseen events or special requirements. It is generously supported by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland,
Italy, Japan, Jersey, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Qatar, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.