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The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is hitting many developing and middle-income countries. In India and Nepal, the situation has completely spiralled out of control in recent weeks. In India alone, almost 30 million people have contracted Covid-19. In Latin America, more than a million people have died from coronavirus, the number of unreported deaths is likely to be much higher. Just one per cent of all Covid-19 vaccinations worldwide have been given in African countries, promised deliveries are delayed or fail to arrive.
The poorest and most vulnerable people are hit hardest
In developing and emerging countries in particular, the Covid-19 pandemic is having a drastic impact: In many places, there is a lack of the most basic treatment options. There are no adequate healthcare systems. The economic and social consequences of the lockdown measures are catastrophic: Many people have neither regular employment nor savings to fall back on. Without a public, functioning welfare system, they quickly lose their livelihoods.
As always, the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the population are particularly hard hit in the current crisis. Even in normal times, they live from hand to mouth. Now, the poorest are pushed completely into hunger and destitution. Without income, there is no money for medicine, no money for enough food or other daily necessities.They suffer due to state-imposed curfews and the collapsing economy. They suffer due to higher food prices and the fact that their relatives abroad can send them less money, so-called remittances.
Caritas Switzerland is committed to mitigating the fatal consequences for the weakest in society. We are strengthening hygiene measures in the project countries, raise awareness and provide emergency relief. Caritas Switzerland is allocating 5.6 million Swiss francs for this aid.
Find out how Caritas has helped in practice since the start of the crisis worldwide (click on the small flag for details):
Solidarity across borders
The health, social and economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis set back the global fight against poverty and hunger by years. For the first time since the 1990s, the number of ‘extreme poor’ who live on less than 2 Swiss francs a day is rising again. According to the World Bank, up to 150 million more people will fight for their very existence by the end of this year. At the same time, global hunger has nearly doubled since the start of the crisis. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 270 million people are on the brink of starvation.
‘Overcoming this crisis requires cooperation across society and around the world. Solidarity must not end at countries‘ borders. After more than a year since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, it is time for Switzerland to renew its commitment: It must expand its humanitarian and development aid and work to promote better access to vaccinations for the poorest sections of the population’, stresses Patrik Berlinger of Caritas Switzerland’s Development Policy Advisory Service.
Caritas Switzerland’s project work affected
The corona pandemic is also a great organisational challenge for Caritas Switzerland’s project work in around 20 countries. We are affected by national and international travel restrictions. However, we have long-standing employees on the spot who provide urgent emergency relief for those affected. ‘Wherever possible, we continue our project work for the affected population and try to quickly respond to the people’s new needs and provide emergency relief’, says Franziska Koller, the head of the International Cooperation Section of Caritas Switzerland.
Caritas Switzerland depends on donations to implement these projects.