The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) has provided Egypt’s Ministry of Health with 15,000 free N95 face masks for medical teams, to support the country’s efforts against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, UNHCR Representative to Egypt Karim Atassi expressed the council’s appreciation of the Egyptian government’s efforts to provide the same treatment to refugees and asylum seekers as it does to its citizens during the pandemic.
Atassi asserted that there are currently about 16 million refugees and asylum seekers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
He added that these refugees live on the margins of society, and are particularly vulnerable as they often have limited access to water, sanitation, and cannot afford to lose their jobs.
Atassi said that after updating the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, the UNHCR issued a $745m appeal in May to meet the immediate needs of the neediest countries.
He added that the commission needs $343m for its response plan to fight the coronavirus in fragile countries across the (MENA) region, which reflects the size of the crisis.
Atassi pointed out that the UNHCR had requested a $10.2m budget for Egypt to provide additional life-saving services, and help Egypt fight against the virus.
He explained that only 6.7% of the budget has been covered, which indicates a severe funding gap and a looming humanitarian crisis.