Cherica washes her hands in front of her grandmother's home in Cite Soleil, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio CheryCherica washes her hands in front of her grandmother's home in Cite Soleil, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio CheryCherica washes her hands in front of her grandmother's home in Cite Soleil, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery

A year of emergencies: Our response in pictures

A year of emergencies: Our response in pictures

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.

A man inspects a field of crops eaten by locusts
Guyo Gonjoba, a member of the locust surveillance team in North Horr, a village in Kenya, inspects crops eaten by locusts. Photo: Ed Ram
Locusts
Locusts
Locust in Cara-Cad Village, Somalia. February 2020 Photo: Concern Worldwide
Locust in Cara-Cad Village, Somalia. February 2020 Photo: Concern Worldwide
Locusts in Dukana and North Horr in Marsabit County in Kenya
Locusts in Dukana and North Horr in Marsabit County in Kenya. Photo: Concern Worldwide.
A farmer's son raises his arms as he is surrounded by desert locusts while trying to chase them away from his crops, in Katitika village, Kitui county, Kenya. Credit: Ben Curtis/AP/Shutterstock
A farmer's son raises his arms trying to chase away desert locusts from his crops, in Kitui county, Kenya. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP/Shutterstock

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.

The remains of a building after the explosion in Beirut on August 4. Photo: Concern's Alliance 2015 Partner ACTED
The remains of a building after the explosion in Beirut on August 4. Photo: Concern's Alliance 2015 Partner ACTED
Concern's Warehouse Manager, Mohammed along with Sawsan and Miriam from a local volunteer group, do a stock take of blankets. Photo: Jade van Huisseling
Concern's Warehouse Manager, Mohammed along with Sawsan and Miriam from a local volunteer group, do a stock take of blankets. Photo: Jade van Huisseling
Members of Concern Lebanon volunteering with clean-up efforts in Beirut. Photo: Concern Worldwide.
Members of Concern Lebanon volunteering with clean-up efforts in Beirut. Photo: Concern Worldwide.
Concern staff and volunteers helping with the distribution of UNHCR's shelter kits for vulnerable communities affected by the Beirut blast. Photo: Jana Nashar / Concern Worldwide.
Concern staff and volunteers helping with the distribution of UNHCR's shelter kits for vulnerable communities affected by the Beirut blast. Photo: Jana Nashar / Concern Worldwide.
Concern staff Amani, Pauline and Sanaa buying flowers to distribute alongside the dignity and shelter kits to support the local community affected by the Beirut blast.Lebanon Photo: Pauline Coste / Concern Worldwide
Concern staff Amani, Pauline & Sanaa buy flowers to distribute alongside shelter kits to households affected by Beirut blast. Photo: Pauline Coste / Concern Worldwide

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 Concern aid worker walking through flood water in Sudan
Concern's team in Sudan responding to flooding in Sitteb Village. Photo: Ibrahim Adam Osman/Concern Worldwide
A large truck of supplies with Concern Worldwide branding
A Concern truck carries supplies to distribute to those affected by the flooding. Photo: Ibrahim Adam Osman/Concern Worldwide

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.

Staff talk to residents during distribution of hygiene kits in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
Staff talk to residents during distribution of hygiene kits in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
The coronavirus sample booth in Bangladesh.
The coronavirus sample booth in Bangladesh.
To help reduce the spread of Covid-19 beneficiaries wash hands before entering Concern supported Nutrition Facility in West Darfur.
Concern Worldwide has Installed hand-washing stations outside 13 health facilities in West Darfur. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Patricia Moloko with her son George pictured with the soap and Covid-19 fliers they have received from Concern Malawi.
Patricia Moloko with her son George pictured with the soap and Covid-19 fliers they have received from Concern Malawi.
A man in a mask distributes hygiene kits
Hygiene kits funded by ECHO being distributed at Khankay camp for internally displaced people, Iraq. Photo: Concern Worldwide.
A woman washes her hands, with a Concern banner in the background
Kona* washes her hands to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: AKM Jakaria/Concern Worldwide
In Port-au-Prince, communities are learning how to make soap themselves. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
In Port-au-Prince, communities are learning how to make soap themselves. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
Volunteer disinfecting a nutrition centre in a Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Volunteer disinfecting a nutrition centre in a Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Hamida* receiving Nutritional Supplement for her malnourished child from a Concern supported Nutrition site, Cox’s Bazar.
Hamida* receiving Nutritional Supplement for her malnourished child from a Concern supported Nutrition site, Cox’s Bazar.

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.

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