Episcopal Relief & Development is providing financial and technical support to partner organizations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The organization continues to be in close contact with partners in 44 countries, including the United States, to provide assistance for communities affected by the novel coronavirus.
“The coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted communities all over the world,” said Nagulan Nesiah, Senior Program Officer, Disaster Response & Risk Reduction for Episcopal Relief & Development. “We are working together with our partners to determine how to respond to the urgent needs for the most vulnerable populations, whether it be food supply, medical equipment, best practices for physical distancing, hygiene or other critical supplies.”
In the Philippines, Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with the E-CARE Foundation in the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical staff. As in many countries, hospitals are experiencing a shortage of critical PPE. At least one medical center, the Lung Center of the Philippines temporarily stopped accepting new patients as a result. E-CARE partners such as KASALIKA, a local community group of women organized by E-CARE, and other smaller groups will produce approximately 6,000 face masks and 1,000 gowns which will be donated primarily to hospitals in Quezon City, where there is a concentration of coronavirus treatment centers.
Other partners such as Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Church of Bangladesh are also providing PPE, hygiene kits and essential medical supplies through partners. These critical supplies will help medical staff safely treat coronavirus patients and will help slow the spread of the disease through improved sanitation practices.
With the support of Episcopal Relief & Development, the Anglican Diocese of Guinea is coordinating with local governing officials to launch an educational campaign about the importance of hygiene in slowing down the transmission of the virus. The diocese plans to serve over 300 families through hygiene and sanitation kits.
Episcopal Relief & Development’s International Program staff is also providing guidance and expertise in Sri Lanka. The Dioceses of Colombo and Kurunegala are distributing food, while following best practices for physical distancing, to plantation and day workers who have lost income due to the virus and shutdowns. Program staff are in close contact with other partners as they determine how best to respond to needs in their communities.
Domestically, the US Disaster Program is holding weekly partner coordination calls and public webinars to offer support to Episcopal dioceses, churches, individuals and other groups. Resources for a faith-based response to epidemics and pandemics are available here.
“One of the great strengths of Episcopal Relief & Development is our communities of practice in the areas of women, children and climate,” said Tammi Mott, Vice President, International Program Operations, Episcopal Relief & Development. “Weekly we virtually bring together our networks of partners to exchange their experiences, knowledge and mutual support. These networks are critical for identifying both immediate responses and longer-term program adaptations in the face of the novel coronavirus.”
Donations to Episcopal Relief & Development’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response Fund will continue to support partners around the world and in the United States in responding to the coronavirus.