Rising to the coronavirus challenge together

23 March 2020

Topics: coronavirus drought refugees

In 2016, a Palestinian mother attends an NECC clinic in the Raffah Distric with her son (4), who has been diagnosed with anaemia, malnutrition and has moderate stunting. Anyone suffering from malnutrition today is at great risk during this difficult and scary time. Photo credit: Ben Littlejohn
The coronavirus outbreak is spreading, advice and predictions are updated by the minute, and our daily lives are changing quickly.

For Australians, the timing couldn’t seem worse. We are recovering from this summer’s devastating bushfires. And we must face these new threats when families around the country are also confronting a severe drought.

Yet, these crises remind us that, around the world, we are not all equally at risk during this difficult and scary time.

Now more than ever, the world’s poorest communities need us to stand by them because they are not as equipped as we are to cope. 

The health emergency that the entire world faces today will be most strongly felt in countries already struggling as a result of conflict or disaster; those you help through your generosity and compassion.

In the months leading up to the outbreak, millions of people in Zimbabwe were facing food insecurity as a result of the drought there. Now, this virus poses an especially severe threat to those malnourished farmers already struggling to survive on drought-stricken land.

At the same time, the spread of the virus poses a grave threat to those fleeing the war-torn countries of Syria, Myanmar, and South Sudan; children, women and men that have become refugees and internally displaced people.

With limited access to food, water, shelter, clothing, and basic health and hygiene facilities; many people live in cramped, unsanitary conditions that increase the risk of infection. How much harder would it be to stay safe in these conditions?

Now more than ever, we must continue working together to support the people around the world who are most vulnerable to this crisis.

That’s why we are constantly monitoring the situation to see how we best respond to this new threat as conditions change. And thanks to you, our local partners are already working on the ground in these and other crisis zones, providing emergency assistance and long-term support to people affected by conflict and disaster. People forced from their homes, and without the resources we have in Australia.

In the coming months, with your support, we’ll do our very best to meet the changing needs of the communities we serve; the people who most urgently need our help as this crisis escalates.

Now more than ever, we rise by lifting others. Your support of the most vulnerable people in the world right now helps to get this crisis under control faster and save lives.


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This image, taken in 2017, shows a Syrian boy living as a refugee in Jordan walking through the camp where he lives with his family. In this cramped and unsanitary place, families are at great risk of exposure to a virus that has devastated some of the world's best health care systems. Photo credit: Joel Pratley