Tackling COVID-19 in the world's biggest refugee camp
As COVID-19 continues to spread, concern is growing around the potential impact of an outbreak among the 900,000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh.
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The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge for countries all over the world - but Concern remains committed to our humanitarian mission.
As the outbreak continues to spread, our teams have already mobilised in response to this global threat and are well-equipped to support those who are most vulnerable.
Many of the world's poorest communities depend on jobs like manual labour and handwashing clothes to make the income they need to survive but lockdown restrictions have made this impossible, and families are now struggling to feed their children.
“COVID-19 is a global humanitarian challenge, which needs an urgent global response. The world’s extreme poor cannot be left to address this crisis on their own. The international community needs to rally behind them to contain the virus, as the faster the virus is stopped, the quicker and stronger the global recovery will be."
Given the impact of the disease on countries with strong health systems, COVID-19 poses an even larger threat to densely populated countries who are already struggling with the impact of conflict, climate and malnutrition.
Our focus will be on maintaining our current lifesaving programmes, where possible, as well as playing our part in raising awareness of the tools that can be used to fight the spread of the infection. We are already involved in the distribution of hygiene kits in Iraq, building water points and engaging youth groups in soap production in Haiti, and working with the Ministry of Health in Bangladesh to increase COVID-19 preparedness.
Horn of Africa
In Somalia, we are implementing a number of specific Covid-19 responses in its education activities, such as supporting the development of distance learning opportunities for children and the provision of WASH facilities and supplies and hygiene promotion work, ensuring that schools and children can remain safe and hygienic. We have worked with health centres to ensure fumigation is done, health workers are trained and that PPE is procured and distributed. In addition, hand-washing stations have been installed, soap has been provided, and the provision of water has been undertaken.
In Ethiopia, we have reviewed and adjusted all activities to avoid large gatherings, while also maintaining important food distribution and services to our outpatient therapeutic programmes. We are working to distribute soap and protective equipment for health staff, as well as setting up hand-washing stations. Finally, we are looking at measures that include emergency unrestricted cash assistance and phone counselling.
In South Sudan, the importance of social distancing is being emphasised throughout our programme areas and amongst our staff. Our programmes are ensuring that the number of people attending clinics, training and food distributions at any one time are kept to a minimum and our teams use every opportunity to promote hand and respiratory hygiene. To date we have provided over 1,200 hand-washing stations in key locations, provided over 14,134 people with soap and sanitiser, and provided over 49,000 people with improved access to water as part of the COVID-19 response. Through posters and awareness campaigns, we have reached over 613,000 people with COVID-awareness messaging to ensure everyone is aware of the importance of prevention practices. Concern has trained over 380 health care workers and 920 community health workers in Covid-19 prevention and response.
In Kenya, we are working to provide cash assistance to urban households to cushion them against the economic impact of a COVID-19 shutdown, while we have proposed to work with a number of other agencies to promote awareness of social distancing and preparedness for an emergency situation. We are also working with the government and providing technical support through working groups and coordination meetings.
West, East and Central Africa
COVID-19 has arrived at a time of unprecedented global need, with a record 168 million people already requiring humanitarian assistance at the beginning of this year. While governments are dealing with the overwhelming impact of COVID-19 in their own countries, they must also collaborate on a global level like never before.
As the world is learning and adapting to COVID19, Concern outlines key policy recommendations to governments, donors and policymakers to protect the most vulnerable people from the impact of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 outbreak represents a gamechanger for humanitarian action, arriving at a time of unprecedented global need.
In a series of webinars, we're joined by leading policymakers, academics and humanitarian practitioners to examine the impact of COVID-19 on fragile states from three angles - hunger, poverty and conflict.
The final webinar in the three-part series will take place next week and you can sign up here.
The worst drought in 40 years has turned the landscape of Caraale Maxamed village in Odweine district into a dust bowl. The soil is parched and any remaining animals are thin and sickly. All the surface water sources have dried up.
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