More than 50m people are affected by conflict in urban areas. For them, coronavirus is just another burden to bear

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Mark Lowcock,
Izumi Nakamitsu,
Robert Mardini

We are all grappling with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic but it could not have come at a worse time for people already made extremely vulnerable by warfare.

In places such as Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, the bombing and shelling of cities and towns has left people without access to water, electricity, sanitation or a functioning healthcare system – the basic services that will help protect them from the virus.

In March, the secretary-general of the United Nations called for an immediate, global ceasefire so aid workers could reach people in areas affected by conflict. So far more than 115 governments, several regional organisations, 200 civil society groups and 16 non-state armed groups have publicly endorsed this call.

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