The UN has launched an updated COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan that requires $6.69 billion to help fragile countries cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund requirement of the original response plan, which was launched on March 25, was $2 billion, reports Xinhua news agency.

US lockdown
US lockdown

Global Humanitarian Response Plan

Launched on Thursday, the updated plan added nine countries -- Benin, Djibouti, Liberia, Mozambique, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Togo, Zimbabwe -- bringing the total number to 63.

UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, who launched the updated plan, said urgent action is needed to help the most vulnerable countries.

COVID-19 has now affected every country and almost every person on the planet. But the most devastating and destabilizing impacts will be felt in the world's poorest countries, Lowcock told a virtual event for the launch of the new appeal.

Apart from the direct health impact, the global recession and the domestic measures taken to contain the virus will take a heavy toll on the poorest countries, he said.

Next six months crucial

"We can see right now incomes plummeting and jobs disappearing, food supplies falling and prices soaring, children missing vaccinations, meals and school."

He warned that the first peak of COVID-19 is expected in many of the poorest countries in the next three to six months.

The updated response plan includes more of a focus on food insecurity, as well as how to help the most vulnerable and how to address gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse.

Lowcock was joined at the virtual event by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi; World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley; head of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies, Mike Ryan; and the president and CEO of Oxfam America, Abby Maxman.