Equipping Refugees and Other Displaced People with the Tools Needed to Survive a Pandemic

By: Joanne Lu

Shahanara, a mother of three, collects potable water and washes her children’s hands at a water point installed by World Vision inside a refugee camp in Rohingya.

Shahanara, a mother of three, collects potable water and washes her children’s hands at a water point installed by World Vision inside a refugee camp in Rohingya. Photo: Himaloy Joseph Mree ©2020 World Vision.

Everyone is feeling vulnerable and uncertain during this global COVID-19 pandemic, but perhaps none more so than those who were already among the most vulnerable people on earth: refugees and other displaced people. As Europe and the U.S. approach their peaks in new cases and deaths from the novel coronavirus, outbreaks are just now beginning to be reported in migrant facilities and refugee settlements. But because of their already-existing vulnerabilities, people who live and work in those places are anticipating far worse outcomes if major outbreaks hit – and right now, it only seems like only a matter of time.

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Securing the Global Food System in a Pandemic

By: Penny Carothers

Augusto Cardona, an Agros partner in Nuevo Amanecer, Honduras, stands in front of his empty field in 2015. He later planted it with corn. Credit: Cesar Velasquez, Agros International

Augusto Cardona, an Agros partner in Nuevo Amanecer, Honduras, stands in front of his empty field in 2015. He later planted it with corn. Credit: Cesar Velasquez, Agros International

As COVID-19 silently snuck around the world in early 2020, the World Food Program (WFP) was responding to another threat as it used its massive logistical network to bring food to 113 million people. From a hunger perspective, 2020 was already a challenging year with conflict, drought, climate change effects, and massive swarms of locusts plaguing the most food insecure. Given the scope and timing of COVID-19, observers around the world are concerned that this global pandemic will soon lead to a hunger crisis, a “crisis within a crisis.”

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Amid a Global Pandemic, Implementing and Monitoring Sustainable WASH Solutions

Photo by Hassan Al Banna Academy for Water1st International. Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Photo by Water1st International at Hassan Al Banna Academy in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

By Joanne Lu

It’s been a long time since those of us in the West have been so acutely aware of our need for clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials are constantly reminding us to wash our hands – and to do it right, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing between our fingers and under our nails. That’s the best way to remove viral particles from our hands to keep them from transmitting the virus to ourselves and others, they say. But for 2.2 billion people in resource-strapped contexts – whether refugee camps, urban slums or remote rural areas – access to clean water is still an issue, making the prospect of hand-washing several times a day much harder.

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