COVID-19: How CARE is responding to an unprecedented global crisis

CARE is distributing hygiene kits, including soap, hand sanitisers and disinfectants, to 8,000 households in Azraq refugee camp in Jordan

CARE has released over US$1 million of internal emergency funds to support 17 of the highest risk countries around the world in combating the pandemic.

Sally Austin, CARE International’s Head of Emergency Operations, says:

We’ve released flexible funds to support the rapid scale up and adjustment of life-saving activities and allow our teams to act quickly, while we are seeking exemptions for key humanitarian actors to continue working so life-saving assistance like food distributions can continue. The humanitarian community is supporting 100 million people around the world, and we need this work to be seen as essential. In Europe and north America supermarkets remain open so that people still have access to food, and for many of these people these food distributions are their equivalent.

This quick release emergency fund is designed to allow CARE’s different country programmes to respond quickly and flexibly to a new humanitarian disaster such as COVID-19. Countries that will be targeted include: Philippines, South Sudan, Haiti, Palestine WBG, Northeast Syria, Chad, Burkina Faso and Niger, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Uganda, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Water, sanitation and hygiene support

Assistance will include training and information sharing on hygiene and sanitation best practices; installing soap and handwashing stations, conducting handwashing demonstrations, and tackling barriers to good hand hygiene. For example:

  • CARE teams have begun distributing kits of the most important hygiene and sanitation items such as soap and sanitisers in places like Philippines, Haiti, Chad and Uganda.
  • In Myanmar CARE will provide hygiene and sanitation items to a safe house it manages for survivors of gender-based violence.
  • In areas like northeast Syria, as well as distributing hygiene kits, CARE will work directly on water infrastructure to try and combat the virus by disinfecting water tanks, repairing and maintaining 200 handwashing facilities, and installing 50 water storage tanks.

Food support

In ongoing humanitarian disasters CARE, where possible, will adapt existing health and food assistance programmes to reflect the additional needs and procedures required due to the risk of coronavirus. In Haiti, for example, where around 40% of the population (over 4 million people) are already suffering from a food crisis, CARE will provide unconditional cash transfers (via electronic money transfer) to around 400 poor households to be able to buy food in the case of a total confinement.

Similarly, in the Philippines, CARE will provide a month’s supply of cash for food purchase to some of the most vulnerable families so that they don’t need to go out to work in the communities.

Health support

In South Sudan, where CARE already supports much of the country’s health infrastructure, we will strengthen health facility and community-based surveillance in relation to COVID-19 and train around 150 frontline staff in all CARE-managed health facilities and mobile response teams across four different counties.

In two of the refugee settlements in Uganda for South Sudanese and Congolese refugees, CARE will provide frontline responders such as health workers and police staff with PPE (personal protective equipment) kits.

Your donation to CARE today could help provide hygiene kits, clean water and emergency supplies to the most vulnerable families.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.