Read our 2019 annual report
2020 has been a difficult year, both domestically and across the globe. While the coronavirus pandemic has caused devastating economic disruption, numerous emergencies – including an extraordinary locust outbreak, deadly floods and a tragic explosion - have also dominated the last 12 months. Here’s how Concern responded.
A plague of locusts
In January, the largest locust infestation in decades struck East Africa. Swarms of locusts swept through the region, devouring tens of thousands of hectares of cropland. Just months later, a second outbreak hit. In a region where many people rely on farming and livestock rearing to survive, and faced food insecurity even before the swarms, the locusts have devastated lives and left people at risk of starvation.
We’ve been working with affected communities in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, providing cash payments to affected families to buy fodder for livestock, food, seeds, agricultural tools and other basic items.
The Beirut blast
In early August, a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut brought the city to a grinding halt. The blast injured over 5,000 people and left more than 300,000 people without a home, at a time the country was going through its worst economic crisis in recent history. Hospitals and health centres that were already struggling due to the pandemic were put under extreme pressure.
Our team supported a number of passionate local volunteer groups across Beirut that had been on the ground from day one, cleaning the city, removing rubble and covering exposed electricity to ensure those affected had a safe space to live in. We also distributed shelter kits and dignity kits to the city’s poorest communities whose homes were destroyed or badly damaged and provided psycho-social support to individuals, including counselling support.
Flash floods in South Sudan
Deadly flooding hit South Sudan’s Aweil region throughout September, leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced, without food, water or shelter. Water levels rose due to heavy rains, rivers burst their banks and lakes overflowed.
With the floods increasing the prevalence of malaria and diarrhoea, our mobile health team travelled to remote areas affected by the flooding to distribute medicines, while other members of Concern distributed shelter kits including blankets, plastic sheeting and mats to those who had lost their homes in the hardest hit communities. The team also coordinated with local groups to identify the 4,000 worst affected households in Aweil and distributed cash vouchers, enabling them to buy items specific to their needs.
A global pandemic
During 2020 the coronavirus pandemic has hit nearly all of the 23 countries we work in. For vulnerable communities, refugees and internally displaced people living in some of the poorest and most at-risk countries in the world, Covid-19 has exacerbated existing humanitarian crises, already scarce food supplies and weak health systems that people rely on.
Our teams across the globe have distributed hygiene kits, installed public handwashing stations, trained and supported health workers and worked with community leaders to set up public awareness campaigns. We have also scaled up water and hygiene interventions to support infection prevention and control, especially in areas of high population movement.
Without the support of the UK public, none of this would be possible - and we are truly grateful.
You can still donate to our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal and help those who have been left in urgent need today.