Armed to kill, shocking lack of preparation to save lives

MADRID, Spain – In a world armed to kill, with military powers spending nearly two trillion dollars on weapons in 2020, the lack of preparation to save the lives of the millions of unarmed people and victims is scandalous. innocent civilians left behind by wars, among other human-caused catastrophes.

Data on military spending Stockholm International Institute for Peace Studies (Sipri), also report that the world’s nuclear arsenals are increasing as states modernize, greatly raising the danger of unimaginable casualties from the most devastating killing machine.

At the same time, the world’s political leaders continue to subsidize fossil fuels by spending six trillion dollars in a single year, fully aware that such fuels claim the lives of millions of human beings, while spending a tiny fraction of those huge amounts to public health systems.

In fact, on December 27, the International Epidemic Preparedness Day.

According to the United Nations (UN), “health crises threaten to overwhelm already overburdened health systems, disrupt global supply chains and disproportionately devastate the livelihoods of many people, including women and children, and of the economies of the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

More epidemics on the horizon

If international attention is not paid, future epidemics could surpass previous outbreaks in terms of intensity and severity.

The UN added that “we need to recognize the primary role and responsibility of governments, and the indispensable contribution of some actors to address health challenges, especially women, who make up the majority of the world’s health workforce.”

The worst part is taken by the poorest

For his part, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), stated that “although we have all suffered the impact of the pandemic, the poorest and most marginalized have been the most affected, both in terms of lives like lost livelihoods.”

Tedros stressed that increased production and equitable distribution remain the main obstacle to ending the acute phase of the pandemic. “It is a farce that in some countries health personnel and risk groups are still not fully vaccinated.”

As countries move from COVID-19, it will be vital to avoid cuts in public spending on health and other social sectors. According to the director-general of the WHO, such cuts are likely to increase the difficulties of already disadvantaged sectors.

“Instead, governments should aim to spend an additional 1% of GDP on primary health care, while working to address the shortage of the 18 million health workers needed to achieve universal health coverage for 2030”, he limited.

Calling the billionaires

“A perfect storm of conflict, climate shocks, fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and rising costs to reach people in need is causing a seismic hunger crisis,” the World Food Program (WFP) announced. PMA), recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The WFP also launched a unique appeal to the world’s billionaires: 6.6 billion dollars to prevent hunger for 42 million people in 43 countries.

Under Scrutiny

Of the $6.6 billion needed, $3.5 billion is to buy food and deliver it, including the cost of shipping and transporting it into the country, plus storage and “last mile” delivery using air, ground and river transportation, drivers of hired trucks, and security escorts for conflict zones – fed by the warlords – in order to distribute food among the most needy.

Another $2 billion is needed to provide cash and food vouchers (including transaction fees) where markets can function. This type of aid allows those most in need to buy the food of their choice and support local economies.

An additional $700 million will be earmarked for country-specific costs to design, scale-up and manage the implementation of efficient and effective programs of millions more tons of food and cash and voucher transfers, tailored to country conditions and operational risks in 43 countries.

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The case of Yemen

For its part, the Humanitarian Action for Children of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched a call to support the agency’s work in Yemen, devastated by war, and where it provides children affected by conflict and disasters “access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and safety services”.

Specifically, UNICEF needs 484.4 million dollars to serve eight million girls and boys, of the 11.3 million who need assistance.

Additionally, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has requested $170 million in 2021 to address the growing needs of displaced, conflict-affected and migrant communities in Yemen.

But so far, only half of those funds have been received. The $3.85 billion Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen also received only 50% of its budget.

The serious situation in that Middle Eastern country coincides with the WFP’s warning that after seven years of conflict, it shows no signs of ending, nor does the increase in hunger.

“As fighting continues to leave tens of thousands of people displaced and millions of people’s access to food of nutritional value cut off, more than half of the population – 16.2 million people – face acute hunger, of which 5.1 million are at risk of famine. In addition, half of children under 5 years of age – 2.3 million – are at risk of malnutrition this year”, he warned.

Infectious diseases

The covid-19 continues to demonstrate the speed with which “an infectious disease can devastate the world” and bring health systems to the brink of collapse, disrupting the daily lives of all humanity, the UN Secretary General declared on Monday 10 , António Guterres, on the occasion of the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.

“It also highlighted our inability to learn from the lessons of recent health emergencies such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), avian flu, Zika, Ebola and others,” he added.

“And it has reminded us that the world remains woefully ill-prepared to prevent localized outbreaks from crossing borders and becoming a global pandemic,” Guterres said.

stop infectious diseases

Noting that infectious diseases remain “a clear and present danger to all countries,” the UN secretary-general argued that covid-19 will not be the last pandemic humanity will see.

As the world responds to this health crisis, Guterres outlined the need to prepare for the next one.

That means increasing funds for better monitoring, early detection and rapid response plans in all countries, and especially in the most vulnerable, he said.

He added: “It means reinforcing primary health care at the local level to avoid collapse… ensuring equitable access to life-saving interventions such as vaccines for all people and… achieving universal health coverage.”

like wildfire

When cases of the new omicron variant spread like wildfire, 70% of covid vaccines were distributed among the 10 largest economies in the world, while the poorest countries received only 0.8%, according to the UN, which he describes “not only as unfair, but also as a threat to the planet.”

To end this cycle, the world forum stressed that at least 70% of the population of each country must be inoculated, which the UN intends to achieve through its vaccination strategy by mid-2022.

Deaf ears… again

The UN strategy will require at least 11 billion doses of vaccine, which is feasible as long as sufficient resources are allocated for its distribution.

In short, the three aforementioned funding calls represent a tiny fraction of the gargantuan $2 trillion earmarked for the killing machines.

Despite this, calls to save lives once again fall on deaf ears.

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Armed to kill, shocking lack of preparation to save lives