COVID-19 Impact on Humanitarian Emergencies: August 2021 Highlights

Published Date

The OCHA-HDX Data Explorer is now producing Monthly Highlights with the latest analysis on the pandemic in countries reflected within the Global Humanitarian Overview. Please find below the top highlights for March and issues to monitor in April on the COVID-19 pandemic in humanitarian settings.  You can read the full Monthly Highlights here.  

Top 8 highlights to know:



  • Cases and deaths in countries in the Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) declined by approximately 12 per 1 cent and 19 percent respectively in October compared to September. Despite the decline, one fifh of GHO countries still reported an increase in cases of more than 10 per cent this month, with five countries (Congo, El Salvador, Syria, Ukraine, and Venezuela) reporting their highest cases and deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. At the end of October, a third of GHO countries were reporting an increasing trend in cases or deaths.
  • In October, most (25) countries with an inter-agency humanitarian response plan (HRP) received a record 117 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, a 63 per cent increase compared to September and almost a third of all doses delivered in 2021. Deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to HRP countries have steadily increased over the past three months, with doses expected to steeply increase each month for the remainder of the year and into 2022. As COVID-19 vaccine supply in HRP countries improves, the challenge will be to ensure vaccine equity within countries, so at risk and vulnerable populations are included in vaccination rollouts.
  • As the COVAX Facility increases supply of COVID-19 vaccines to HRP countries in the coming months, demand and delivery challenges will likely become the main binding constraint to improving vaccination coverage. On average, only 40 per cent of delivered doses have been administered in the 18 HRP countries with less than 10 per cent population coverage (based on 2 doses). Countries with the smallest number of deliveries – ofen in situations of violence and conflict - continue to struggle the most with getting shots into arms. If administration of COVID-19 vaccines does not substantially improve in the HRP countries with the lowest population coverage, they are at risk of falling further behind as COVAX may need to allocate doses away from HRP countries that cannot absorb them toward other countries with the capacity to administer doses.
  • In October, Gavi’s Country Delivery Support approved USD17 million in financing for Myanmar, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe to support roll-out of vaccines. All 24 HRP countries that are eligible for Gavi’s CDS financing (AMC participants) have now been approved for Gavi financing, which should help to increase administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming months.
  • The IMF World Economic Outlook released in October forecasts a slower economic recovery for many countries with humanitarian crises, largely due to worsening pandemic dynamics and slow vaccine roll-out. More than two-thirds of HRP countries are projected to grow slower than 4 per cent compared to a 5.9 per cent global average. The forecast for a third of HRP countries has been downgraded since April. When projected population growth is considered, over half of HRP countries are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels of growth until at least 2024. For more than a third of HRP countries, the return to pre-crisis levels is beyond the IMF forecast horizon (2026).
  • According to ILO’s 8th edition of ILO’s COVID-19 ILO Monitor, while working hours in high- and upper-middleincome countries largely recovered in 2021, lower-middle and low-income countries continue to face huge losses driven largely by vaccine inequity and the capacity of countries to provide fiscal stimulus packages. More than two-thirds of HRP countries are experiencing a slower recovery in working hours lost due to COVID-19 compared to global averages. Five HRP countries - Burundi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, and Yemen - lost more working hours due to the pandemic in 2021 compared to 2020, underscoring the pandemic’s continued economic toll in humanitarian settings.
  • In October, the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths published an op-ed detailing how COVID-19 continues to drive the socio-economic conditions that make increased conflict far more likely, threatening unprecedented humanitarian need and suffering in years to come. Based on new forecasts from the University of Denver, the pandemic could lead to 15 new or resumed conflicts before 2023, an increase from previous estimates. Stabilizing economies, increasing COVID-19 2 vaccinations, improving livelihood and education opportunities, and fully financing inter-agency UN humanitarian response plans is critical to preventing more conflict and violence.

Three issues to monitor in November:

  • GHO countries reporting an increasing trend in cases or deaths as of 31 October, including Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Congo, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Jordan, Libya, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, and Yemen.
  • Rising cases and deaths in Europe that may foreshadow surges in other parts of the world in the coming months.
  • The COVAX Facility’s Humanitarian Buffer is expected to deliver its first doses in November 2021.