We are living in unprecedented times. The spread of COVID-19 has left many people anxious and living in fear, both here and around the world. We do not know what the next few months will hold, let alone the next year. We hope for the best, but plan for the worst. We are indeed all in this together.

In this planning, we are communicating closely with our partners to help them prepare to prevent and deal with this threat. Below are the areas we work in, how they are sitting at the moment, and what they are doing in response to COVID-19.

Our current situation shows us ever more clearly we are all human and vulnerable, yet some of us are in a better position to weather challenges and crises. The countries we work in are far more susceptible to issues associated with the lockdowns and public health crises, and the people most heavily impacted will be those without access to secure housing, regular income, food, water and sanitation.

Those who were most vulnerable before are even more so now.

Below is the latest information for each of our projects as of mid-April, 2020:

The situation

While at this stage no cases of COVID-19 have been detected, a state of emergency has been declared. It is anticipated a lock-down may come soon.

Additionally the Solomon Islands is also having to deal with the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Harold, which passed by as a category 1 storm in early April, bringing with it wild weather. Flooding from the rain has resulted in flooding, leaving concerns over food security.

On Thursday 2 April, 27 people died as they sought refuge from COVID-19 away from the capital, Honiara. They were on a ferry and were caught in rough seas from Cyclone Harold.

The response

At the moment, our program work is continuing with staff of our partner, the Anglican Church of Melanesia, back working in the office. The project is working to make sure that women and children are protected from violence, especially as the State of Emergency continues and families are forced to stay in their homes. Another main priority is to help people prepare and prevent with good information about social distancing and good hygiene.

 

The situation

At this time there have been no cases  of COVID-19 reported in Vanuatu. A state of emergency has been declared, with restrictions in place.

Tropical Cyclone Harold, a Category 5 storm, hit Vanuatu on Monday 6 April, leaving a trail of destruction and complicating the COVID-19 response. Social distancing was impossible to maintain in evacuation centres, and with many services down, communication was near impossible.

Lives have been lost as a result of the cyclone, and there are grave fears for what the damage means should there be any cases of COVID-19.

The response

While complicated by Cyclone Harold, our partner, the Anglican Church of Melanesia, plans to distribute health and hygiene information and resources to help limit any impact of COVID-19.

 

The situation

Some cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Myanmar.

The response

Our partner, Akhaya, has suspended the silversmith training for an indefinite period.

 

The situation

COVID-19 has been spreading in India and the government has placed the country in lockdown. There is a great deal of stress on those living in poverty and unable to work, with little access to help.

The response

Our program is currently suspended due to the lockdown.

 

The situation

An increasing number of cases of COVID-19 are being reported in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The response

The Spafford Children’s Center in East Jerusalem has been closed indefinitely.

 

The situation

As stated above, there have been an increasing number of cases reported in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). This includes Gaza. According to the World Health Organisation, the OPT are at a very high risk and the Palestinian Ministry of Health is preparing for possible outbreaks.

The response

AOA will direct emergency funds raised for our partner, the Ahli Arab Hospital, to priority areas, including any of medical equipment and supplies, medication, protective gear, and hygiene and sanitation materials.

 

The situation

Ethiopia reports confirmed cases of COVID-19, all coming in from outside of the country into Addis Ababa, and confirmed cases were found in Nazareth, a town on route to the Afar region.

The response

Work on the dam rehabilitation project is continuing according to plan. The Afar community radio station is being used to promote messaging about hygiene and sanitation.

 

The situation

Kenya now has confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The response

Our partner, the Anglican Church of Kenya, has postponed physical community activities and is playing an active role in sensitising the community on hygiene, prevention measures and facts on COVID-19.

The work also involves making sure the most vulnerable people, including those with disabilities, are protected. It includes protecting their incomes and helping them register for government services, and working with volunteers to help victims of family violence to access government services.

 

The situation

Mozambique now has confirmed cases of COVID-19, including in the Diocese of Nampula where our work is situated.

The response

The Government of Mozambique has requested the assistance of the Diocese in supporting and implementing its COVID-19 strategies and has granted the Diocese ‘essential service status’ so that the Diocese’ COVID-19 work will continue even if/when the country moves to stage four lock-down.

The Equipa de Vida (‘Life Teams’), which is a wide-reaching network of community-based volunteers, are being trained to give accurate messages about the virus and to put together plans to deal with it across almost 100 very vulnerable communities. The messaging will reach at least 50,000 people. Church workers will also be able to use Personal Protective Equipment for when they support the most vulnerable people, especially if a lock-down and/or a significant outbreak happens.

 

The situation

The country is several weeks into a lock-down and, with the number of cases growing, there is grave concern for the capacity of the health system to respond, especially given the large number of highly vulnerable (including immune-compromised) people.

The response

Staff of our partner, the Department of Social Responsibility, are working from home as best they can.

The project is pivoting from its usual activities to those that will assist existing partnering communities to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. This includes supporting the Safe Persons Network & Permaculture Network to remotely help communities with emergency services during the lock-down, giving communities access to accurate information on the virus, making sure the most vulnerable households are protected, and helping people with greater health risks (including those who are HIV+) to access medical services during the lock-down.

 

You can help communities struggling to deal with COVID-19 by donating to our Rapid Response Emergency Fund. Click on the ‘Please Donate’ button (choose ’01A. Rapid Response Emergency Fund’ from the ‘Donation’ drop-down menu and type “COVID-19” in the ‘Message’ box):

Keep an eye also on our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates, articles and stories on how the communities you support are faring at this difficult time for us all.