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More than two dozen international aid groups have told the US government they are “increasingly alarmed” that “little to no US humanitarian assistance has reached those on the front lines” of the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of new cases picks up speed in some of the world’s most fragile regions, Cara Anna wrote for the Associated Press (AP) on June 13, 2020.

The letter obtained by AP and signed by groups including Save the Children, CARE USA, World Vision and others says that “in spite of months of promising conversations with USAID field staff, few organizations have received an executed award for COVID-19 humanitarian assistance.”It calls the delays “devastating” and says the window is closing for the US to help mitigate the worst impacts of the pandemic around the world.

The letter to US Agency for International Development (USAID) acting administrator John Barsa is dated June 4 — the same day that other USAID officials were touting the US government’s “global leadership” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To date, we have committed more than $1 billion to benefit the global COVID response,” Kenneth Staley, the leader of the USAID COVID-19 task force, told reporters covering Africa. The funds are typically provided to aid groups as well as private contractors and United Nations (UN) agencies. But much of that aid has been tied up in “uncharacteristic delays” nearly three months after the passage of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the letter from aid groups says.