SEATTLE, Washington — There has been no shortage of news covering the bleak reality people worldwide find themselves amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, while this coverage is essential, it does not encompass all the activities occurring globally. Despite the hardships, there has been an equally strong global support to help those in need, showing international unity and positive globalization efforts.
Conflict in Sudan
Take Sudan, for example, a country that already had a bevy of problems before COVID-19 gripped the world. In April 2019, Omar al-Bashir was overthrown and created a power vacuum between the country’s military and protesters that wanted to establish a democratic government. Luckily, an agreement between the two groups was reached in August for a transitional government to sustain the country while plans for a more permanent solution was developed.
Unfortunately, the problems that instigated the coup are still fresh wounds and have yet to dissipate entirely. In the few months before the coup, inflation rose to 70% as the price of bread doubled. Naturally, the spread of COVID-19 has compounded these problems by requiring a quarantine where many people cannot afford to not go to work.
COVID-19 in Sudan
In early June, Sudan had more than 6,000 recorded COVID-19 cases and 359 deaths. “Recorded” being the keyword here since official numbers are believed to underestimate the extent of COVID-19 in the country. In one region, 150 people were cited as dying from an unnamed “mysterious disease,” which was likely when the novel coronavirus was still new in Sudan. The virus initially spread slowly in Sudan, relative to other countries because of its isolated and rural environment. Furthermore, official figures have also been critiqued as misleading since only a few hundred tests are conducted a day. Still, the number of confirmed cases continues to double approximately every thirteen days.
Help on the Way
In light of these hardships in Sudan, the country made the brave decision to start a new government only a year ago. More than 40 countries have pledged $1.8 billion to Sudan, not counting the $400 million from the World Bank. The funding is meant specifically for the families in Sudan, where more than 60% of the population lived impoverished lives for over two years.
While this is not a resolution for Sudan’s crisis, the donations help aid the country’s $60 billion debt and the previously mentioned inflation. The 40 countries currently plan to meet again in early 2021 to discuss further aid for Sudan. Additionally, several other countries, including the U.S., Germany and France, have individually pledged the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The extent of reciprocity between countries is not only limited to Sudan, either. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, financial aid has become a greater priority worldwide. The United Nations (U.N.) set a plan into motion in March to distribute $2 billion across developing nations struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the secretary-general of the U.N. continues to encourage world leaders to remove bans and tariffs that limit the traffic of medical supplies between countries to maintain a culture of cooperation regardless of personal vendettas across borders.
Organizations and countries’ global efforts to aid those significantly affected by COVID-19 is supporting the global response to COVID-19. However, these financial aids and humanitarian programs must not become a momentary gesture to the recent pandemic. Instead, they must continue until Sudan can stabilize its economy and government. After all, every country pulled out of poverty is a business partner, an ally and a friend when the current benefactors may find themselves in hard times.