From the threat COVID-19 poses to world hunger to an urgent appeal from the UN for emergency funds to fight the pandemic

The World Food Programme (WFP) says the COVID-19 pandemic will push roughly 265 million people to the brink of starvation unless swift action is taken to provide food and humanitarian relief to the most at-risk regions, more than double the 130 million estimated to have suffered severe food shortages in 2019.

Related: COVID-19: 50 million people threatened by hunger in West Africa


The heads of the UN’s major agencies have issued a ‘graphic warning’ of the threat COVID-19 poses the world’s most vulnerable countries after international donors only pledged around a quarter of the USD $2 billion the UN requested for its emergency COVID-19 response in March. UN officials warned help for the world’s weakest countries was in everyone’s ‘interest to stop the virus from spreading unchecked, destroying lives and economies, and continuing to circle around the world’.

Related: Aid levels inch upward but COVID-19 looms


The World Health Organisation (WHO) says Africa could become the next epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, with WHO officials warning the pandemic will likely kill at least 300,000 people on the continent and push nearly 30 million into poverty.

Related: Africa has so far been spared the worst of the coronavirus. That could soon change.


New forecasts from the World Bank project global poverty will increase for the first time since 1998 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 40 to 60 million people expected to be pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic.

Related: World Bank warns of collapse in money sent home by migrant workers


World Health Organisation (WHO) officials say the number of deaths from malaria in Subsaharan Africa could double this year if work to prevent the disease is disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: Polio eradication efforts under threat as vaccine campaigns halted


Development experts have welcomed steps taken by the G20 and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide debt relief to the world’s lowest-income countries but say more is needed to help the developing world respond to the duelling health and economic crises emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: EU humanitarian boss says COVID-19 warrants aid budget ‘rethink’


The World Bank’s latest COVID-19 financing plans have left some development experts underwhelmed, with some civil society groups concerned that, without additional signs of financial support from the Bank’s shareholders, the institution’s efforts to the respond to the pandemic could come at the expense of other health and development priorities.

Related: Opinion: Multilateral banks have $750B in reserve financial capacity. Now is the time to use it.


UK civil society groups are calling for the British government to ensure any COVID-19 vaccines or treatments developed with aid funding are patent-free so that vital medical supplies are accessible to lower-income countries after officials failed to give a clear answer in response to questions about patents or the accessibility of successful vaccines or other products.

Related: DFID holds off from explaining sky-high cost of UK-Africa Investment Summit


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says in the face of the arrival of COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo the organisations is focusing on continuing to respond to the Ebola outbreak in the country while strengthening communities so they’re able to respond to other outbreaks as well.

Related: Q&A: Yves Daccord reflects on 3 decades in the aid sector


Following the Trump Administration’s decision to freeze all funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for 60 to 90 days USAID has begun looking for alternate partners to carry out health programs it previously supported through WHO.

Related: World Bank Group to Launch New Multi-donor Trust Fund to Help Countries Prepare for Disease Outbreaks


The World Resources Institute says the number of people harmed by floods worldwide could double to 147 million people by 2030.


Plans in Ethiopia to build a dam on the Blue Nile which will affect water levels on the river in Egypt and Sudan are raising tensions in the region, with some observers warning the project could spark a ‘water war’ between the countries.

Related: WASH advocates worry about ‘short memory’ of donors