Press release

Christian Aid welcomes UN Secretary General’s call for global ceasefire as COVID-19 pandemic hits developing countries

The international aid organisation today praised the United Nations for its call for a global ceasefire as COVID-19 continues to ravage the globe.

This comes as UN OCHA and WHO are set to launch their COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan this afternoon (Wednesday 25th March).

Easier access for humanitarian aid – currently extremely limited in many conflict-affected areas - will become crucial as the virus starts to make a bigger impact on some of the world’s poorest nations, where social distancing, self-isolation and access to healthcare are just not realistic, nor available.

Cases of the virus have now been reported in conflict and disaster affected countries, including Syria, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (IoPT), Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Bangladesh.

Christian Aid’s Senior Adviser on Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy, Jane Backhurst said: “Christian Aid works with frontline organisations now battling COVID-19 where there is also war, major food shortages and insecurity, locusts decimating crops, and a lack of infrastructure with only a few hospitals and no testing facilities. The virus means their limited resources are stretched beyond the limit.

“A global ceasefire could be extremely powerful if it enables humanitarian organisations safe and fast access to those most affected.”

As humanitarian agencies respond to the unfolding crisis, faith and community leaders will play a vital role in stemming the flow if low-income nations are to fight the virus.
Ms Backhurst continued: “Churches and other faith-based organisations in the UK and around the world are mobilising to support the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“In many nations where we work, faith and community leaders play an incredibly influential role in peoples’ everyday lives.  Not involving them in the response from the very beginning, and investing in efforts to address the virus now, could cost lives.”

Christian Aid partner organisations are committed to helping to prevent the spread of the virus, whilst ensuring the continued delivery of vital supplies during on-going humanitarian responses to armed conflict including in South Sudan and Nigeria, and to the food crisis in Zimbabwe and Malawi due to drought and cyclone.