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Record number of alerts shows urgent need for rapid and early support to stop the spread of COVID-19

  • by Helen James
  • 06 Apr 20

News Article

Start Network has received a record number of crisis alerts - with 85 in a single weekend - from members in 69 countries. The alerts were for Start Network's new COVID-19 fund launched to anticipate and respond to critical virus-related humanitarian needs in low-income countries.

The new Start Fund COVID-19 fund has been kickstarted with a donation from IKEA Foundation for €1.5M, and other donors are now being urgently sought.

The alerts are intended to prepare vulnerable communities for outbreaks and to limit the spread of the virus. They include:

  • Preparing communities in densely populated areas; communities overlooked by national responses due to status (such as migrants, refugees and internally displaced people, daily labourers, chronically ill and older people)
  • Providing cash, and food to support to households that can no longer work due to lockdowns
  • Mass sensitisation of COVID-19 messaging of preventing the spread


The main activities, gaps that are being proposed include:

  • Water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) and distribution of hygiene kits, building or refurbishing handwashing stations, distributing water
  • Health – Medical equipment, including personal protective equipment, mass sensitisations and capacity building of community health workers
  • Food security and livelihoods, including cash distribution for food; supporting food supply chains


The new Start Fund COVID-19 is part of the Start Network’s existing funding mechanism, the Start Fund, which has enabled the network to get the fund set up quickly. Start Fund COVID-19 provides rapid funding for small to medium responses at the local level, neglected or underfunded aspects of the broader COVID-19 response and for early and anticipatory humanitarian action, needed before the virus spreads to vulnerable communities.

Read more about the Start Fund COVID-19.


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  • by Helen James