This week, thanks to the generosity of the UK public, the Disaster Emergency Committee – of which CAFOD is a member – Coronavirus Appeal has raised an incredible £10 million to help those living in the most fragile states.
The DEC Coronavirus Appeal will help the most vulnerable people in six of the world’s most fragile states: Yemen and Syria; Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Afghanistan.
In Syria, our local partners on the ground are reporting urgent concerns about the risks of the virus spreading, as vulnerable people are unable to take the basic measures to protect themselves. Mustafa, 28, a frontline worker supported by CAFOD, lives in a camp outside Idlib with displaced people.He explained how they are preparing for what he calls ‘an explosion of coronavirus’ in the camps. He said:
“My heart is beating so hard; we are expecting an explosion of coronavirus in the camps. The coming days are really critical for us.Doctors are preparing for the spread of the virus. People live in large overcrowded settlements in tents with maybe 12 people and no access to clean water. It will be a catastrophe. Disaster. Please help them.”
Of the 111 public hospitals in Syria, only 57 public hospitals (64%) are fully functioning. There is a considerable shortage of trained staff and a high turnover rate, reducing capacity to manage cases. Up to 70% of health workers have already left the country.Despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic, CAFOD, many of the DEC’s 14 member charities, are already present and working in refugee and displacement camps.Through our local experts, we are focusing on essential humanitarian services while ensuring the health and safety of staff, volunteers and communities are prioritised.
Our local experts are giving emergency support and essential hygiene kits and continuing to homeless families who are within Syria itself but also in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.