Crisis watch

The explosion the port of Beirut has caused massive destruction to buildings and infrastructure, as well as destroying crucial food supplies stored at the port
2 July 2020

Women in the COVID-19 crisis

As of 1 July 2020, CARE has published 27 COVID-19 Rapid Gender Analyses and has 24 additional COVID-19 RGAs in process. Three months after our first Global Rapid Gender Analysis for COVID-19, we have published an updated global analysis, based on context-specific analyses in 5 regions covering 64 countries. This has included conversations and data collection with more than 4,500 women. This new analysis confirms the initial findings and predictions of the first analysis, and reveals new areas of high priority for women and girls — and for men and boys — as the crisis deepens.

Our recent research reveals:

  • The highest immediate priorities 3 months into the crisis are food, income, and rights — including concerns around gender-based violence, caregiving burdens, and mobility. Women and girls show these needs most acutely, but they also rise to the top of men and boys’ priorities in COVID-19.
  • Women’s burdens are increasing. As frontline workers in the health system, as survivors of gender-based violence, as the people primarily responsible for food, cleaning, and childcare (especially with schools closed), women confirm that their burdens are rising, and so is the stress around them.
  • Women are displaying remarkable leadership, but are still unable to access most decision-making, around COVID-19 and around daily life. They are also quickly approaching the end of their safety nets.

In this context, the new analysis provides updated recommendations to focus on lessening the immediate impact on women and providing the chance to build back equal.

Read the new analysis on the CARE Insights website: Evolving trends: Women in COVID-19

2 July 2020

Venezuela refugee crisis and COVID-19

Over five million Venezuelans have left their country as a result of the humanitarian situation that Venezuela is facing, which has worsened in the past three years. Most have sought better conditions in other South American countries including Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Brazil. However, according to the UN, only half of Venezuelans have been granted residence and regular stay permits.

At various border points, large groups of Venezuelans are now reported to be returning to their country on foot. According to reports from various agencies in the field in the receiving countries, their return is related to forced confinement and the health emergency, which has resulted in evictions or lack of income, as most of the population is dependent on the informal economy, which was abruptly limited by COVID-19 control measures. Venezuelan refugees have not benefited from cash and other assistance provided by host governments to their own citizens. Complaints by those who have been forced to return include xenophobia, evictions, breach of employment contracts and violence.

CARE believes the response to COVID-19 must protect the rights of all those who inhabit a territory, especially considering the conditions of vulnerability faced by groups that are not included in the social registers of countries. Venezuelan refugees should not be forced or encouraged to return to their country as long as their humanitarian needs are not guaranteed, during their journey as well as in Venezuela.

30 June 2020

Syria

The Syrian crisis began nearly 10 years ago and since March 2011, more than 6.6 million Syrians have been forced to flee their country and another 6.7 million have been driven from their homes but remain inside the country (UN figures). On 30 June 2020 a global funds-pledging conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ took place online. Nirvana Shawky, CARE Regional Director for MENA (Middle East and North Africa), says:

We welcome the new increased focus from the conference on the resilience and recovery of Syria and Syrian people, and in particular, the recognition of the role that women are playing in the resilience of families and communities, and the need to invest in women in decision-making structures at all stage of the political process. This is an area that CARE has long fought for.

We also welcome the widespread support for the renewal of the cross-border resolution, and the recognition that a failure to renew will severely compromise the delivery of aid – and particularly of food and water assistance – to hundreds of thousands of Syrians in the northwest of the country.

Going forward it is crucial that sanctions and other political machinations aimed at influencing the behaviour of parties to the conflict must not be allowed to compromise civilian access to the humanitarian assistance they so desperately need, and to which they are entitled under international humanitarian law.

26 June 2020

South Sudan – hunger; gender-based violence

South Sudan was spared the devastation of recent locust invasions in neighbouring Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda because they coincided with the dry season, when there are no crops. But with second-generation swarms from hatched eggs predicted to appear during the country’s rainy season, when farmers plant and harvest crops meant to last them throughout the next year, there is concern that locust invasions over the coming months could push even more people into a severe food crisis in a country where more than half the population is already suffering from hunger.

Lokii Martine, Nutrition Officer for CARE in Ikwoto County in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria State, says:

It [an invasion] would really destroy the harvest and hunger will really strike in the area. People here grow sorghum, maize, simsim [sesame] and groundnuts. If the locusts eat this, how will they survive? This is their source of food. If desert locusts land on their farm, there will be nothing for them to survive on until the end of the year. Most people harvest once a year, so they will have nothing for one year if the desert locusts come during the time of cultivation. Few people have cattle and other business. If insects come and eat the whole crop, people will be very vulnerable.

CARE staff have been working on the ground with communities to do locust surveillance to provide the UN’s FAO and government with the latest updates on locust swarms, after receiving training from the FAO.

A CARE-run safe house for women in Torit, state capital of Eastern Equatoria, is already seeing the effects of the lack of access to food due to COVID-19. Josephine Itwari, a CARE case worker and counsellor, said:

[Women] are being beaten, there is no food at home due to lockdown and people can’t move. If there is no food at home, it will lead to quarrels and fighting. It’s not only women. Even children come to report to us because there is no food.

A new 5-year CARE project aims to help more than 52,000 people in Eastern Equatoria State become more resilient to shocks and increase community food security. The project will give seeds and tools to farmers, provide goats, especially to single mothers, to start livestock businesses, establish community credit in the form of Village Savings and Loan Associations, and provide training on farming and other vocations.

25 June 2020

Ebola – DRC

Eastern DRC has been declared Ebola-free, after an outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces that has lasted for almost two years – the second longest and deadliest outbreak in history. This Ebola crisis has disproportionately affected women, who make up the majority of fatalities (56%), followed by children (28%).

A recent gender analysis published by CARE showed that not taking the impact of how viral outbreaks affect women and men differently can be deadly. Not only are women at greater risk of being infected, they also faced higher risk of gender-based violence as a result of the Ebola crisis. Benoit Munsch, Country Director of CARE in the DRC, and based in Goma in North Kivu, says:

The Ebola outbreak has not been gender neutral. The reality is that the majority of fatalities from Ebola are women and children. Not asking questions about gender has major consequences, primarily for women and girls. They often carry the burden of caring for the sick, putting them at great risk of getting infected. But Ebola is also just one crisis hiding many others.

Eastern DRC is dealing with a range of humanitarian crises resulting from ongoing and new conflicts on top of COVID-19, and a measles outbreak that has so far resulted in 6,000 deaths across the country as a whole.

Last year, CARE helped around 900,000 people in DRC, and expects to help more this year. In eastern DRC, we are providing vital hygiene, protection and gender-based violence (GBV) support. However, there is increasing concern over women’s security, and about the level of need for GBV and protection services, as well as cash assistance to help people survive. Benoit Munsch says:

The needs in eastern DRC are so huge, and concerns over safety and basic access to food, water, shelter and primary health care services to survive are so immediate; that the current COVID-19 crisis, which may attract more attention than others, almost pales into insignificance alongside the multiple crises many people are facing.

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