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The COVID-19 pandemic: Coronavirus affects us all

School closures, stay-at-home orders, and lockdowns: over the past months COVID-19 has changed our lives dramatically. People around the world are getting infected with the novel coronavirus disease (SARS-CoV-2) every day – and especially now during the winter months numbers are rising again. Experts are urging people to follow social distancing and strict hygiene measures in order to contain infections as well as possible.

COVID-19 is particularly devastating for those countries that have insufficient health systems.

COVID-19 continues to pose an enormous threat to the countries we work in. For example, a bigger outbreak in one of northern Syria's crowded refugee camps would have devastating consequences. As a result of the civil war, there is no functional healthcare system. The sanitary facilities, so important to containing the spread of the virus, are totally inadequate.

Coronavirus: a complex crisis for the poorest people

Dramatic consequences in the countries we work in: Day labourers without work, increasing hunger, girls forced to marry younger.

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From coronavirus to hunger crisis

The coronavirus crisis is also creating other problems in Syria: “Jobs have been lost due to the pandemic, supply chains have broken down and the Syrian pound has recently lost so much value that many people can no longer even afford bread,” reports Halil Kurt, Programme Coordinator for Welthungerhilfe in Syria and Turkey.

Halil Kurt, Head of Project Syria, Welthungerhilfe, 2020.

Many people can no longer even afford bread.

Halil Kurt Programme Coordinator for Welthungerhilfe in Syria

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The pandemic has also had devastating economic consequences in many African countries, especially for poverty-stricken communities. As a result of the lockdown measures, many people have lost their source of income, while at the same time food prices are rising sharply. The number of hungry people worldwide threatens to reach one billion. In addition, existing crises and conflicts could intensify.

In Kenya we are beginning to hear many people express sentiments like: ‘We probably won't die from coronavirus, but we might starve to death.’

Kelvin Shingles Country Coordinator for Welthungerhilfe in Kenya

“The coronavirus pandemic is amplifying already existing crises. As a result, the number of hungry people could rise to one billion, partly due to climate change and global conflicts,” says Mathias Mogge, Secretary General of Welthungerhilfe. In order to support the most vulnerable people in the world, whose suffering has been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis, Welthungerhilfe is implementing a wide range of measures tailored to specific local conditions.

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Welthungerhilfe’s measures to combat hunger during the coronavirus crisis

Provide immediate assistance to those most vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis.

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All measures are adapted with our partner organisations on-site to the specific needs of local populations. Welthungerhilfe's work related to COVID-19 is being carried out in close coordination with local governments, the UN and other relevant actors and are in line with national COVID-19 regulations and response plans.

Good hygiene saves lives

Regular handwashing is essential to slowing the spread of coronavirus. That is why we are currently expanding our measures to improve hygiene. We are calling on our many years of experience with WASH measures (water, sanitation, and hygiene) and our established connections in villages to provide intensive hygiene education to the local people and support local structures. Together with our partner organisations we are also supplying food to those people most in need.

In Sierra Leone, Welthungerhilfe employee Tity Simbo Kamara explains symptoms of COVID-19 to villagers and how they can protect themselves against infection © Welthungerhilfe
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Nowhere else in Afghanistan are there more returning and internally displaced persons than in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The living conditions are precarious, shelters are overcrowded, drinking water supply and hygiene conditions are poor. Welthungerhilfe provides humanitarian aid by building 200 new shelters and repairing 800 more. Ten solar-powered water supply networks and 500 latrines are being built. In parallel to this infrastructure, hygiene training courses are being held to illustrate the link between the spread of disease and poor hygiene © Hamdard/Welthungerhilfe
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Together with our partner Ihsan, we distribute bread to civil war refugees from Idlib in northwest Syria. The organisation White Helmets is helping to disinfect the distribution site in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 © Welthungerhilfe
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In the Arua district in Uganda, with the support of the BMZ, we are distributing supplies for COVID-19 prevention, such as over 2,000 litres of liquid soap, 325 litres of disinfectant and 500 protective masks © Welthungerhilfe
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Social distancing during the distribution of hygiene materials to Southern Sudanese refugees in Uganda © Welthungerhilfe
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Pakistan is under lockdown due to COVID-19. Together with local partners, we are distributing food parcels for 8,000 people to the poorest families and day labourers in the Mardan district © Welthungerhilfe
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Mobile hygiene stations were also set up in Nepal. Here Welthungerhilfe employees are demonstrating how to wash their hands to protect against COVID-19 © Welthungerhilfe
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In Bangladesh, our partner organisation Anando in the Khagrachari district demonstrates correct hand washing technique to protect against COVID-19 infection © Welthungerhilfe
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In the Nainital district our partner organisation Lok Chetna Manch is distributing food, soap and protective masks to the poorest families during India's lockdown © Welthungerhilfe
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Solidarity during the crisis: our relief work continues

With the worldwide spread of COVID-19, our 2,803 employees are dealing with considerable challenges in the 36 countries we work in. Despite this, they are committed to continuing the daily fight against hunger and poverty. Taking all necessary precautions and abiding by restrictions, our worldwide relief work continues.

The pandemic and the hunger caused by protective measures are putting countless lives at risk. Now it is up to us! With your donation you'll be supporting people worldwide where the need is greatest.

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Porträt Mathias Mogge, Generalsekretär der Welthungerhilfe.

Worldwide people are suffering from hunger. These people are especially vulnerable during this crisis. They need our help now! Please support us with a donation.

Mathias Mogge Secretary General of Welthungerhilfe
Wiederaufbau in Nepal: In Kathmandu beseitigen die Menschen die Spuren der Zerstörung.50€

As little as €50 is enough, for example, to provide several families with urgently needed sanitary products.

100€

With €100, for example, five villages can be equipped with one hand basin each and chlorine.

Donate now to help the poorest and most vulnerable people worldwide

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Welthungerhilfe stands for transparency and quality. The German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) has awarded us its seal of approval for how we handle donations because we guarantee the efficient and targeted use of your contributions backed up by verified accounts and information.

Our annual report lays out in detail how all donated funds are spent, providing you with a direct insight into our work. We attach a great deal of importance to transparency and cost-effectiveness. In accordance with Transparency International’s Transparent Civil Society Initiative, we also publish additional information, such as our statutes, our personnel structure, the names and titles of key decision-makers, and much more.

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Welthungerhilfe has been holding the DZI seal of approval for donations since 1992. The seal certifies that Welthungerhilfe is handling the funds entrusted to it efficiently and responsibly.