COVID-19 Impact on Humanitarian Emergencies: August 2021 Highlights
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)1 declined in August despite global increases. The declining trend is positive but masks several concerning surges in GHO countries, especially in the Middle East region. At the end of August, almost a third of GHO countries were reporting an increasing trend in cases or deaths.
- Almost 95 percent of GHO countries have reported more COVID-19 cases in 2021 compared to 2020. Half of the 30 countries with an inter-agency humanitarian response plan (HRP) have reported at least double the number of cases, with several reporting more than six times the number (Burundi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique). GHO countries have also recorded 83 percent more deaths in 2021 compared to 2020.
- In 2021, reporting on sex disaggregated COVID-19 cases and deaths has declined in GHO countries. Limited disaggregated data on vaccine administration and epidemiological data on COVID-19 is hampering efforts to identify and respond to the gendered impacts of the pandemic. A third of the 75 per cent of GHO countries reporting sex-disaggregated data have not updated figures since 2020. Only five HRP countries are reporting sex disaggregated data on COVID-19 vaccinations. In both Nigeria and Somalia, less than a third of COVID-19 vaccines have gone to women. It is essential governments and partners consult with women and local women’s organizations and design vaccine campaigns that overcome barriers women may face in accessing the vaccine. More effort must be made to collect and report sex disaggregated vaccine and epidemiological data, an important first step in identifying and ultimately addressing gender inequity.
- In August, HRP countries received a record 33 million doses, with half of those doses coming from the COVAX Facility. Twelve countries donated 62 per cent of the doses delivered. While increased dose donations are welcome, the volumes remain small relative to the number of doses needed. Half of HRP countries do not have enough doses to vaccinate even 5 per cent of their population (based on 2 doses). Five countries have less than 1 per cent (Burundi, Chad, DRC, South Sudan, Yemen). COVAX deliveries are expected to increase in September as COVAX continues to deliver the 83 million doses allocated to 29 HRP countries by COVAX. Doses are expected to be delivered by the end of September (if circumstances allow). This would more than double the number of COVAX deliveries to HRP countries to date.
- The administration of vaccines in most HRP countries remains a major hurdle and upcoming COVAX deliveries will further test roll-out capacity. Pakistan and Colombia have balanced large and ongoing amounts of delivered doses with a high rate of administration. However, many HRP countries struggle to administer their doses received, even when relatively small doses are delivered. As of 31 August, more than USD2.2 billion in financing from the World Bank and Gavi has been approved to support 23 GHO countries to obtain and rollout COVID-19 vaccines. To improve capacity to administer vaccines, quick deployment of funds and additional financing for the two-thirds of HRP countries that have not yet received support is necessary.
- The economic fallout of COVID-19 has overwhelmed already fragile social protection measures in HRP countries and exposed significant gaps in social protection coverage.2 Four out of five people in HRP countries – almost one billion people - are without social protection benefits. Creating more fiscal space in HRP countries, including for social protection spending, is critical to mitigating the ongoing impact of COVID-19, supporting economic recovery and strengthening the resilience of populations to future shocks. The reallocation of SDRs in a manner that benefits the poorest countries and addressing the debt crisis will be essential.
- At the end of August, GHO countries received USD34.9 billion in funding, just a third of the total humanitarian funding required for 2021. Several sectors critical to COVID-19 response – health, education and protection - are severely underfunded, with more than 85 per cent of needs unmet.
- The OCHA-HDX COVID-19 Data Explorer is now tracking vaccine financing from the World Bank and Gavi to support countries to procure and roll-out COVID-19 vaccines, and data from the World Food Programme on theChange of Cost to Food Basket.
Three issues to monitor in September:
- GHO countries with an increasing trend in cases or deaths as of 31 August, including Angola, Aruba, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen.
- Increased COVAX deliveries in HRP countries, based on round 4-6 allocations.
- New COVID-19 initiatives, donations or financing commitments announced by world leaders at the UN General Assembly leaders’ week - 23-26 September 2021.
- Announcements or initiatives to reallocate Special Drawing Rights, and how they will benefit HRP countries.