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
8 June 2020

COVID-19 crisis: update on CARE’s response

CARE is currently responding to the COVID-19 emergency in 64 countries, directly reaching 9.2 million people – an increase of 2.2 million in the past two weeks, with the largest increases in Bangladesh, Philippines, Malawi, Syria, and Zimbabwe. People reached with messaging through mass media increased by 6.4 million to 133 million people. People helped included:

  • 5.3 million people with health/hygiene messaging through direct communications involving a 2-way dialogue such as community workshops, door-to-door, or government or other service providers
  • 1.6 million people provided with increased access to safe water
  • 1 million people provided with hygiene kits
  • 1 million people provided with additional food assistance to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 crisis
  • 259,000 people provided with cash or voucher assistance
  • 700,000 people provided with updated information on gender-based violence prevention and support services
  • 71,000 people trained in infection prevention and control
  • 9,000 handwashing stations installed (with soap and water)
  • 996 health facilities supported to provide health services, including sexual and reproductive health services
  • 5 countries supporting community-based surveillance/contact tracing.

59 countries have completed, or are planning to conduct, a national or regional Rapid Gender Analysis to identify the differing impacts and needs of women, girls, men, and boys. 89% of countries are fully focused on gender-based violence or are mainstreaming GBV prevention and support into other areas of their response. 55% of countries are partnering with women-led or women-focused local partner organisations in their response.

29 May 2020

COVID-19 and hurricane season

CARE is warning that a climate-change-exacerbated hurricane season may cause massive human suffering  in many countries already particularly burdened by COVID-19-related impacts and lockdowns. Women and girls are particularly at risk, as the climate crisis exacerbates existing gender inequality such as social and cultural barriers which means they are often marginalised in decision-making, and as they do most of the subsistence farming providing food, which may be threatened by climate change impacts.

In Haiti, for example, over 4.1 million people are in urgent need of food assistance, and the destruction caused by the hurricane season, on top of the melting pot of other factors including COVID, social unrest, and destruction from decades of natural disasters could be catastrophic. Yawo Douvon, CARE Haiti Country Director, says:

Today, 40% of the Haitian population are in urgent need of food assistance, and are struggling to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic. As COVID-19 limits people’s ability to respond, we call on all actors to ensure early warning systems function and that life-saving disaster preparedness is adapted to face the compounded risks associated with COVID-19.

Responses to the compounded impacts of extreme weather events during the COVID-19 pandemic must be community-driven with strong women’s leadership. Responses need to address the climate crisis, immediate humanitarian and socio-economic impacts on livelihoods, and the right to food, in a gender-responsive manner.

28 May 2020

Cyclone Amphan

More than 13 million people in Bangladesh and 14 million in India (West Bengal, and Odisha) have been affected by severe damage to buildings, to infrastructure such as electricity and water supply, and to crops and livelihoods. Urgent needs are shelter (including rehabilitation of damaged homes), gender-sensitive water/hygiene support, and livelihoods and food assistance. Overcrowding at cyclone shelters and evacuation from flood-affected areas has made the physical distancing necessary to limit COVID-19 transmission a particular concern. CARE is aiming to assist 200,000 people in Bangladesh and 100,000 in India with relief and recovery support.

22 May 2020

India and Bangladesh: 80 die as Cyclone Amphan makes landfall 

Super Cyclone Amphan hit across the Bay of Bengal on 19-20 May, reaching speeds of 180km/hour - the fastest storm ever recorded in the bay - killing over 80 people and destroying countless homes in India and Bangladesh. CARE teams are assessing the damage and starting to respond.

In India’s Odisha and West Bengal states, Amphan destroyed thatched houses and semi-solid housing structures, laid waste to standing and newly sown summer crops of paddy, pulses, vegetables; and damaged critical power, communication, water, river dams, roads, forestation and livestock in abundance. As a result, an estimated 4 million people stand exposed to severe hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and exposure to diseases. CARE’s Regional Director Deepmala Mahla says:

These aren’t just plants that were washed away. These people were sowing their dreams—working all year to farm food that was going to provide for their future and it has all disappeared in an instant.

19 May 2020

Cyclone Amphan set to hit Bangladesh

Super Cyclone Amphan, which is currently the largest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal with sustained wind speeds of up to 165 miles/hr, is expected to hit Bangladesh on 20 May 2020. 

Amphan is just the second super cyclone to hit the Bay of Bengal in recorded history. During the last super cyclone in 1999 almost 10,000 people were killed. By now, 2.2 million people have been moved to storm shelters. All river transports, including ferry services, are suspended across the country. The maritime ports have stopped loading and unloading goods from the ships.

CARE has teams on the ground preparing for the cyclone, and also runs three of the encampments that make up the Rohingya refugee camps at Cox’s Bazar, where over 850,000 Rohingya refugees live. Walter Mwasaa, Acting Country Director for CARE Bangladesh, says:

These are unprecedented times globally and closer, in Bangladesh, when the country is beginning to come to terms with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases as the testing increases, we now have a new fast emerging crisis.

The government has started moving people in its path into shelters estimated to be able to hold over 5 million people... With the current COVID-19 pandemic it’s impossible to imagine how social distancing will be achieved, we can only hope for the best.