Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Coronavirus Appeal has raised £10 million to help vulnerable in world’s most fragile states as doctors in Syria prepare for ‘an explosion of coronavirus’ in camps for displaced.
The DEC has brought together 14 leading UK aid charities including Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK. As part of this initiative, Islamic Relief is helping the most vulnerable communities in the world fleeing conflict and instability and now facing the deadly threat of Covid-19.
28-year-old, Mustafa is a frontline worker supported by DEC member, and lives in a camp outside Idlib with displaced people. In a statement, he said,
“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. In a statement, Saleh Saeed, DEC Chief Executive, said,
“With warnings that the virus could spread like wildfire in camps in Syria and elsewhere, our appeal to help the most vulnerable people is now urgent.
“We are witnessing the tremendous generosity of the UK public who, even in the midst of their own uncertainty during this pandemic, have reached out to help the poorest and most vulnerable threatened by Covid-19 in countries weakened by years of war and instability. The UK public has been incredible with their support, but we urgently need more funds to scale up operations and save lives as the virus continues to spread.”
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. A total of 24 million displaced people live in crowded temporary shelters in these countries.
The appeal also includes the world’s largest refugee camp – in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where more than 850,000 Rohingya refugees have sought sanctuary.