The U.S. Department of State building in Washington
The U.S. Department of State building in Washington

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the US has committed over USD 775 million in emergency health, humanitarian and economic assistance that will help over 120 countries, including India, in fighting the pandemic, the State Department has said, as the deadly disease claimed over 230,000 lives and infected over 3.3 million people.

According to a fact sheet released by the US State Department on Friday, the over USD 775 million assistance is specifically aimed at helping governments, international organisations, and NGOs to fight the pandemic.

This funding, provided by Congress, will save lives by improving public health education, protecting healthcare facilities, and increasing laboratory, disease-surveillance, and rapid-response capacity in more than 120 countries, it said.

India has received USD 5.9 million in health assistance to hinder the spread of the disease by providing care for the affected, disseminating essential public health messages to communities and strengthen case-finding and surveillance, it said.

This builds on a foundation of nearly USD 2.8 billion in total assistance to India over the last 20 years, which includes more than USD 1.4 billion for health.

In South Asia, Afghanistan (USD18 million), Pakistan (USD15 million) and Bangladesh (USD12.3 million), have received more in COVID-19 health assistance from the US, it said.

America's COVID-19 assistance to-date includes nearly USD 200 million in emergency health assistance from USAID's Global Health Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious-Disease Outbreaks and Global Health Programs account.

These funds prioritised interventions to mitigate and prepare communities in developing countries affected and at a risk of COVID-19.

It has provided nearly USD 300 million in humanitarian assistance from USAID's International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account.

These funds prioritise populations affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis, particularly displaced people, because of their heightened vulnerability, the elevated risk of severe outbreaks in camps and informal settlements and anticipated disproportionate mortality in these populations.

It has provided more than USD 150 million from the Economic Support Fund (ESF). These funds will promote American foreign policy interests by supporting shorter-term mitigation efforts and addressing second-order impacts from the pandemic in the long term, across a variety of sectors.

More than USD 130 million in humanitarian assistance from the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account, provided through the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. These funds will help international organisations and NGO partners address challenges posed by the pandemic in refugee, IDP, and hosting communities as well as other migrants and other vulnerable people in both global and local humanitarian responses.

This new assistance is in addition to the over USD 100 billion in global health funding and nearly USD 70 billion in overseas humanitarian assistance provided by the US in the last decade alone.

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