Mbabane: The United Nations has issued that the Kingdom of Eswatini is at a high risk of contracting the deadly coronavirus due to her status as a poverty stricken country.
“We are aware that COVID-19 is occurring in Eswatini in a context of underlying extreme poverty and chronic food insecurity with 27% of the population at risk of food insecurity,” said UN Resident Coordinator Nathalie Ndongo-Seh, adding that they are aware of water standard rations not being met for a few members of the Eswatini community. Ndongo-Seh said the increase of the spread of COVID-19 will be perpetuated by the living conditions in the informal settlements and other concentrated areas across the country. She said despite the country not having a large scale humanitarian crisis of the type outlined in the UNSG Global Appeal, there definitely was a lot that needed to be attended to in the advent of the new coronavirus which has killed thousands of people across the globe.
“I trust that the Chairs of the Education, Health, Education, Social Protection, WASH, Agriculture &Food and Security and other clusters will provide an overview on the risks and increased vulnerabilities their sectors experience as a result of COVID-19,” said Ndongo-Seh.
Globally, as of April 16, there were 2, 100 064 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 136 037 deaths and 523 838 recoveries as reported by WHO. As of April 15 Eswatini recorded 16 confirmed cases and 8 recoveries. A 17th case was confirmed today, April 16. In addition, it has since been established that the country has recorded its first ever COVID-19 death, a 59 year old man of the Manzini Region.
“Admittedly, this is the most challenging crisis the world has faced in the 75 years of existence of the United Nations. It is a global health emergency unlike any other — one that is spreading death and human suffering, destabilizing economies, threatening social fabrics and turning upside down the lives of billions of people around the globe, leaving the most vulnerable persons – including the elderly, persons with disabilities, OVCs, rural populations, women and girls (to name only a few) – further behind,” said the UN Resident Coordinator.
Ndongo-She said the scale of the COVID-19 crisis requires new ways of working, and innovative partnerships within and between the State and non-State actors that reflect lessons learned, identify vulnerabilities and manage risks, so that interventions go to scale and efforts to prevent transmission reach down to the community level where impact will be greatest. Driven by this sense of solidarity, the UN is committed to supporting the people of Eswatini in tackling COVID- 19, including its impact, said Ndongo-Seh.
Ndongo-She said in Eswatini, in particular, during the drought or El Nino emergency of 2015/2016, the country learned that it is at its best when it is willing to share knowledge, best practices and networks openly with others, guided by the very same objectives, which are to save lives and ensure that no person, no community and no group of this great nation is left behind.