Updates: COVID-19 Emergency Response
Follow our updates on Oxfam’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Today, we pass the grim milestone of 1 million confirmed cases as part of this coronavirus pandemic. Tackling this pandemic is going to take single-minded determination and global solidarity. If no-one is safe until everyone is safe, then we must act now to make that so.
Oxfam is already gearing up its entire humanitarian aid delivery system to help the most marginalized and people living in poverty as they face the rising tide of infections ahead. We are working around the clock with our local partners in more than 60 countries to deliver much needed humanitarian assistance, to try to curb the spread of the virus.
And we will keep doing that, with your help.
If you’re in a position to contribute, please make a donation today to help us in this fight. Anything you can afford right now will make a difference.
Our borders are closed but we can’t close hearts to those beyond them
Lyn Morgain, Oxfam Australia’s CE, has been in self-isolating after returning from Bangladesh a few weeks ago. Fresh from seeing the realities of Cox’s Bazaar, the work’s largest refugee camp, she’s written about the importance of protecting those at greatest risk. Read more here.
Creative partnerships to deliver life-saving information: Kenya
Oxfam has long experience of responding to disease outbreaks – including as part of Ebola outbreak. A key lesson learned from our Ebola response is that it’s absolutely essential to engage with people and communities, and providing accurate information. Meaningful and active community participation are essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in all communities and countries. This is even more important in places where people live extremely closely, without stable housing and basic services. Places such as the Mukuru informal settlement – or slum – in Kenya.
That’s why Oxfam is working with our partner – the Mukuru Youth Initiative (MuYI) to develop COVID-19 awareness campaigns. These will be focused on information about the transmission of COVID-19 – and how to prevent it, what symptoms look like, and on myth-busting.
We’ll work with MuYI and others, including local influencers, to produce a song and video, street murals and engagements across community radio. Check back for updates on the song and street murals!
Supporting public health with information and sanitation services: Iraq
In Iraq, Oxfam works with our partners to build the resilience of conflict affect communities in two key ways: repairing and improving water, sanitation and hygiene systems; and supporting with emergency food security. Both of these areas of work become even more important in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
With increasing numbers of cases confirmed in Iraq, the Oxfam team are working around the country to support the response to the outbreak. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve done so far in two of the five governorates where we work:
· In Diyala, we received a request for support improvements at a hospital in Jawala that services a catchment of around 50,000. We’ve repaired the water system and improved the sanitation facilities – including installing new handwashing points, new water taps and improving the ventilation.
· In Kirkuk, we have installed 14 billboards and 59 banners in public places with information about handwashing in Arabic, Kurdish, Turkman and Chado-Assyrian languages.
Promoting hygiene and hand washing in the world’s largest refugee camp
Cox’s Bazaar hosts the world’s largest refugee camp – with over 850,000 Rohingya refugees living in cramped and makeshift conditions. These communities are extremely vulnerable to a potential outbreak of COVID-19.
Despite the difficult situation in the camps, Oxfam is working with our local partners on preventive hygiene measures and messaging.
Key elements of our work include:
Over recent days and weeks, working with our partners, we’ve conducted training for 317 community leaders on COVID-19, held community information sessions on virus prevention, and visited over 690 households with specific information and support on their hygiene practices.
We’ve also installed 20 new hand washing stations in the camps, and widely distributed soap and detergents.
We’re also continuing to work with our local partners, other agencies and local authorities to prepare for the outbreak that we fear may occur.
Supporting the world’s most vulnerable communities in a pandemic
As the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues, Oxfam is concerned about the impact it could have on the most vulnerable communities in poorer countries across the world.
Oxfam has substantial expertise in public health work and experience in disease outbreaks, including Zika and Ebola. We are currently working with our local partners, in more than 65 countries to respond to COVID-19.
We’re already helping people to minimize the risk of infection by providing them with accurate information and advice in local languages. Our teams are increasing the delivery of soap, sanitation services including handwashing facilities, and clean water especially to people in higher-risk environments such as refugee camps or crowded urban areas.
Here’s a snapshot of what our teams are currently doing in some of those 65+ counties:
· Our Bangladesh team is coordinating with other stakeholders in Rohingya refugee camps; training staff and volunteers to commence soap distribution and community engagement.
· In Myanmar and Bangladesh, Oxfam teams have introduced COVID-19 prevention information into ongoing programs
· In Rwanda, DRC, South Sudan and Kenya, teams have started awareness activities and are planning for a potential cash distribution in informal settings.
· Oxfam staff in Syria have done some specific messaging in schools and are now working on doing mass awareness campaigns using posters/leaflets.
· In Lebanon, Oxfam staff have distributed soaps in camps and through volunteers are undertaking COVID-19 awareness-raising activities.
How to wash your hands properly
Statement: Unite to protect the most vulnerable
Protecting the most vulnerable people and communities and taking care of one another must underpin our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said today.
How you can help
Oxfam is on the ground helping the most vulnerable communities in the most water-poor countries, but we need your support. Please donate today to support our vital, live-saving work.