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'Without urgent support, COVID-19 will never end and the poorest will pay the highest price,’ says Concern Worldwide CEO
Concern Worldwide’s teams in some of the world’s poorest countries are facing a challenge like they have never seen before, but are meeting it with bravery, according to the aid agency’s CEO Dominic MacSorley.
Concern is launching a global appeal to help address COVID-19 in all 23 of its programme countries. This is the first time in Concern’s 52-year history that it will operate an appeal in Ireland from its head office in Dublin, and its offices the US, the UK and South Korea at the same time.
"This is a crisis unlike anything we have seen before. It is the first time we are gearing all of our programme countries up to face the same emergency. Not only are the poorest countries facing COVID-19, but they are also dealing with the very real possibility of financial destruction and widespread hunger as a result,” Mr MacSorley said.
Aid workers are engaging closely with governments and departments of health in all countries of operation, to ensure COVID-19 prevention messaging is consistent, but we all have a part to play in preventing a global disaster, according to Mr MacSorley.
"Across Concern, our unshakeable commitment is to stay where we are needed and deliver. From the sprawling refugee camps of Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh, the overcrowded slums in Port-au-Prince in Haiti or the war zones of Syria, our field staff, who already face huge challenges, are responding to this latest crisis with great bravery. But they are relying on all of us for help.
"Ireland has always stepped up to support those in greatest need. Now more than ever, we cannot leave them to face this alone.”
Concern has extensive experience in preventing and controlling infections and running community information and engagement campaigns, from its work during the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
However, new figures from the United Nations forecast that the cost of protecting the most vulnerable 10 per cent of people in the world from the worst impacts is approximately €83 billion. The current global stimulus package put in place by the OECD and G20 countries is the equivalent of one per cent of this.
2020 was always going to be a difficult year for many countries, even before COVID-19 was heard of, according to Concern Worldwide’s Director of International Programmes Anne O’Mahony.
“World hunger levels have been rising since 2015 with over 820 million people going hungry on a daily basis and 168 million already requiring humanitarian assistance,” she said.
“But the arrival of COVID-19 has escalated this situation. The pandemic and the global recession could leave over one billion people without sufficient food. The legacy of COVID-19 will not just be deaths from the virus, but also a major rise in hunger.”
Income losses for people in developing countries as a result of COVID-19 are expected to exceed €202 billion. The more severe lockdown approaches in place in many Western countries are only possible if supported by social protection systems to protect families and individuals whose livelihoods have been disrupted.
The COVID-19 pandemic is also coinciding with the worst locust infestation in east Africa and parts of Asia in decades. The second wave of insects are currently voraciously eating their way through crops and pastureland in east Africa. The numbers are 20 times greater than the first wave of locusts earlier this year. As they eat crops, the locusts are laying eggs for a third wave.
To donate to Concern’s global COVID-19 appeal, visit www.concern.net/covid-19.
Notes to Editor:
In Niger, Concern is scaling up all community awareness activities by sharing messages and advice to reduce the spread of Covid-19 over the radio. In addition, it is training community leaders and members to share information about the virus within communities.
In Bangladesh, Concern ensured the availability of a month’s supply of food to the Rohingya refugees that it supports in the camps of Cox’s Bazar.
In Iraq, Concern is distributing 84,500 kits with bathing soap bars, detergent and sanitary pads.
In Sierra Leone, Concern is manufacturing and distributing 3,000 litres of alcohol hand rub and is engaging influential traditional healers to spread messaging to their communities on COVID-19 prevention.
In Central African Republic, Concern is training 90 community health workers and 600 parent leaders in more than 100 villages. Since most of the population cannot read or write, picture-based materials are being used.
For media queries or to organise an interview with a Concern spokesperson, contact Jason Kennedy, Media Relations Officer, Concern Worldwide, at firstname.lastname@example.org.