The coronavirus pandemic has continued to ravage our world. As of July 1, more than 10 million cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed. More than half a million people have died. “Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, on June 29. The crisis continues to deepen in the United States, where more than 2.5 million cases have been confirmed and new record cases are reported daily. The worst may be yet to come for much of Latin America, the BBC reports, including in Brazil and Mexico.
The mitigation measures that governments have put in place to prevent the virus’s spread have had their own impact, triggering widespread economic and social crises all over the world. In late June, the International Monetary Fund projected a 4.9% contraction of the global economy in 2020–much worse than its prediction from just two months earlier of 3%. As of early June, the World Bank estimated that the pandemic would push 70 to 100 million people into situations of living on less than $1.90 per day. Travel restrictions and lost livelihoods are leaving countless families in precarious economic situations, sharply increasing needs for immediate relief and long-term livelihood programs. These measures disproportionately affect urban and rural poor communities, refugees, migrants, the elderly and people with disabilities.
The pandemic has impacted every part of our work, and our programs worldwide have adapted and expanded to meet new needs while continuing to provide high-quality services to vulnerable groups. Our top priority is protecting staff, partners and communities while continuing to serve the most vulnerable with our programs and services.
Immediate response activities have been underway for months. CWS teams and partners have provided food, hygiene products and other supplies to families in countries in every region of the world, from Cambodia to Argentina to Egypt to the United States. We have provided grants to partners in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and more to purchase protective equipment for staff and program participants and enhance their ability to reach their clients safely. We also focused on information sharing, ensuring that more of our neighbors have critical, language-appropriate information about the coronavirus. In the United States, our refugee resettlement offices have offered food assistance and rent relief to refugee clients. The biggest need remains rent money for recently arrived as well as those refugees who have lost their only income by being laid off due to Covid-19. In addition, food and non-food items, as well as communication devices continue to be in short supply. With the unfortunate turn of the disease vector, the number of people in need expanded unexpectedly. CWS maintains an on-going needs assessment process, with new cases added daily. Access to medical services for those with no insurance and no English skills, continues to pose a significant challenge.
Additionally, our ongoing programming is adapting and expanding to the constraints and new needs that the pandemic has caused. In the United States, legal consultations and English classes for refugees have moved mostly online. Our U.S. Domestic Disaster Program is coordinating with agencies in hurricane-prone states to prepare to respond to compounding disasters. In countries around the world such as Myanmar, Indonesia and Argentina, we are focusing on livelihood programs, as well as those that increase access to water, sanitation and hygiene since they are critical in stopping the spread of the pandemic and its economic effects.
As the pandemic continues to take a horrific toll on the world, we anticipate continued needs for immediate relief alongside longer-term resilience building. Rent will continue to be due each month. Families will continue to need to put food on the table each day. Planting and harvest seasons will come no matter whether lockdowns are in place. Disasters such as hurricanes will likely still strike, compounding the devastation that the pandemic has caused. And we will be standing alongside our neighbors through all of it, helping them pay rent, put food on the table, build businesses and improve their harvests.
Total requested: $2.25 million
- $1,250,000 to support refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants through 17 offices across the United States, including:
- Rent relief and food assistance;
- Employment, legal, language and other services;
- Critical infrastructure to support refugee resettlement offices; and
- Child care assistance for critical refugee cases.
- $600,000 to build community resilience to the economic impacts of COVID-19 worldwide, including:
- Cash, food assistance and supplies for families who have lost incomes;
- Expanded water, sanitation and hygiene programs to prevent further spread of the virus;
- Mid- and long-term livelihood recovery and food security programs;
- Increasing community capacity and awareness about COVID-19;
- Protection, assistance and advocacy for especially vulnerable groups, including the elderly, people with disabilities, families of those in prison, indigenous communities, refugees and migrants; and
- Counseling and support for staff of local organizations, who are often faced with cascading crises.
- $250,000 to support refugees and migrants outside of the United States, including:
- Cash assistance;
- Language-appropriate information about COVID-19;
- Supplies and protective equipment in shelters; and
- Increased access to services, including healthcare.
- $150,000 to support disaster resilience work in the United States, including:
- Distributing food and supplies for families;
- Rent and utility assistance and remote learning support;
- Supporting local partners as they upgrade internal and organizational systems in preparation for hurricane season on top of pandemic response; and
- Replenishing CWS Kits following a season of closed depots, plus shipping kits in response to requests.
HOW TO HELP
Donations to the CWS Coronavirus Response Fund can be made at cwsglobal.org/coronavirus or sent to CWS (P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515). When sending a check, please designate it 6302, Coronavirus Response Fund.
Source: Church World Service