The United Nations is asking for $ 2 billion in international humanitarian aid to deal with the coronavirus pandemic in the poorest countries, UN chief Antonio Guterres said in launching a major appeal for donation.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday, Guterres said that COVID-19 was threatening all of humanity and that "the only war necessary today is the war on the coronavirus."
The secretary-general emphasized the needs of vulnerable people living in slums and refugee camps around the world.
"There are dramatic humanitarian needs for these people even without this pandemic. But now with COVID-19, we have to do everything possible to prevent the disease from reaching these areas," Guterres told James Bays, diplomatic editor of Al Jazeera.
"It is very difficult for these people to live in self-isolation. There, households often do not have water or soap, and health facilities are extremely rudimentary.
"So we need to increase responsiveness in those areas," Guterres said.
"That is why we mobilize all UN agencies and NGOs to work together with these funds, these $ 2 billion, to make sure that we can make a strong push for prevention in those vulnerable areas, and at the same time time bring the required equipment, fans, tests, suits for staff to allow contact with people on the ground. "
To counter the pandemic in countries at war, the UN has called for a ceasefire in major conflicts around the world, including Syria, Yemen and Libya.
Yemen's warring parties on Thursday welcomed the call for an immediate truce as the country entered its sixth year of a conflict that triggered a humanitarian crisis, making it more vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak.
Late Wednesday, a Military coalition led by Saudi Arabia He said he supported the Yemen government's acceptance of the UN appeal.
His enemy, the Houthi movement, welcomed that stance, but said he wants to see implementation on the ground.
"The most important parties in Yemen have declared that they would accept the ceasefire. Other powers in the world say they are ready to abide by it," Guterres told Al Jazeera.
"Diplomats around the world are pushing for this appeal to be translated into diplomatic action. We have initiatives in Syria, Libya and Yemen and in many other parts of the world."
"I hope that the appeal is heard and that people understand that there is only one war that is necessary today and that is the war against the virus," Guterres added.