Crisis watch

The explosion in Beirut has caused massive destruction to buildings and infrastructure, as well as destroying crucial food supplies stored at the port
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.

23 June 2020


CARE, along with 19 other organisations, is warning that over four million Syrians living in areas outside of the Government of Syria’s control could lose access to life-saving aid, unless the United Nations Security Council renews a resolution allowing cross-border access for humanitarian agencies. In a joint letter to the United Nations Security Council on the Syria cross-border resolution, CARE and the other agencies say:

For more than four million Syrians ... the cross-border mechanism is a critical lifeline providing food, shelter, hygiene, and critical medical services. Without it, people will go hungry and will be denied access to critical healthcare services, including those needed to respond to COVID. Simply put, lives will be lost.

Without a resolution that secures access for 12 months humanitarian actors will be unable to adequately prepare for and respond to the spread of COVID-19.

23 June 2020

COVID-19 response

CARE and partners are responding to COVID-19 in 67 countries. We have now directly helped 11.7 million people, a 27% increase over the last fortnight. Read more details of how we are helping people on our COVID-19 emergency page. Recent highlights include:

  • Iraq: In Sinjar, maternity units supported by CARE are continuing to provide critical healthcare and guidance for pregnant mothers and their babies at a time when curfews, lockdowns and movement restrictions are enforced. These services are highly valued by the communities.
  • Indonesia: Distribution of information materials and water tank installation in traditional markets and temporary shelters in 8 arid-land villages that have limited existing facilities and are particularly under-served by other providers.
  • Sudan: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 response, most people were not keen on following prevention and safety measures. The efforts of the CARE team in awareness-raising activities have helped in creating a visible change in people’s behaviours and practices – using face masks, maintaining social distances and supporting hand washing practices.
19 June 2020

COVID-19: another setback for refugees in Middle East and North Africa

CARE’s Rapid Gender Analysis for the coronavirus pandemic across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region shows that fragile gains in women’s workforce participation across the region are at risk, while gender-based violence is on the rise, and women’s voices are going unheard. Key findings include:

  • Increased gender-based violence: In Lebanon, 54% or those surveyed, most of them refugees, reported an increase in violence and harassment against women and girls, and 44% felt less safe themselves at home. In Jordan, two out of three urban refugees and one out of two camp residents are concerned for the safety of women and girls since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Wide-scale economic deprivation: Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, many refugees in MENA were already food insecure, stigmatised, and exploited in both formal and informal labour markets. Across the region, refugees – especially refugee women—said they had lost income or could not keep working during strict social distancing conditions. Women in the region are expected to lose over 700,000 jobs as a result of COVID-19.
  • Women’s absence in the COVID-19 response: COVID-19 has brought to light major gender gaps in public leadership in MENA, where currently, all ministers of health are men and most response committees to address the pandemic are male-dominated. This gap in women’s leadership has real impact: for example, Gaza’s quarantine centres did not have a single female medical or security staff member despite the fact that nearly half of those in quarantine were women.

Read a summary of the Rapid Gender Analysis: COVID-19: One more setback for refugees in MENA – especially women and girls

16 June 2020

Locust swarms in East Africa

Large areas of East Africa and The Horn already affected by the worst locust invasions in decades are expected to receive second swarms in mid-June, prompting fears of a worsening food crisis in many countries over the coming months. Coming on top of the COVID-19 health crisis and a series of natural disasters such as flooding and cyclones, this will exacerbate the existing humanitarian crisis which already sees more than 11 million people living in areas affected by the locust infestation in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan facing crisis levels of food insecurity.

The compounded crises are also putting unprecedented pressure on women, including on their rights and their food security. Expected market disruptions, food shocks, pressure on land and water resources, and increases in malnutrition will be particularly difficult for women, who often eat least and last. Further, women also remain at highest risk of gender-based and domestic violence, and sexual exploitation.

CARE staff are working on the front line of this crisis, including helping people with emergency food relief and supporting governments with resources to do surveillance and gather information about desert locusts.

In South Sudan, CARE staff have been trained by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to do on-the-ground surveillance in Eastern Equatoria, including by gathering locust samples and information from affected communities about the size and direction of swarms, and what they are eating.

In Uganda, CARE staff have helped the government with a campaign to try to stop people from being poisoned by eating locusts - traditionally a dish in some parts of the country - due to widespread spraying efforts in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Esther Watts, CARE Ethiopia Country Director, said:

Conflict, outbreaks of cholera and measles, and erratic weather patterns remain key drivers of humanitarian needs. Now, crops have been ravaged by locusts, leaving the country on the brink of a catastrophic hunger crisis. COVID-19 is compounding this already des-perate situation. As these threats increase, we urgently need the funding to scale up our humanitarian response. This massive crisis is totally off the radar of the international community.