Initiatives step up humanitarian response to the pandemic to underpin recovery.
Published on: 05-05-2020
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is serving more than 2.4 million households around the world where lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. ADRA has launched COVID-19 response projects in 37 countries to support frontline workers, low-income families, the elderly, and people facing layoffs as a result of the crisis.
“ADRA has been on the ground since the coronavirus outbreak, immediately responding and assisting the most needed areas of the world, helping people and communities cope with the unprecedented health, social, and economic challenges produced by COVID-19,” said Michael Kruger, ADRA’s president. “We are here to continue supporting vulnerable families, frontline health-care professionals, and individuals affected by this pandemic. Our offices are working with thousands of volunteers and trusted partners to ensure those impacted receive the life-saving essentials, health information, food, hygiene supplies, and cash vouchers to overcome and recover from the COVID-19 disaster.”
ADRA has scaled up emergency operations and adapted its disaster relief infrastructure in more than 120 countries to respond to the diverse needs of the coronavirus outbreak. Emergency relief activities range from food distribution and security, health communication training for frontline workers, and shipments of medical supplies to hospitals serving vulnerable communities to prevention awareness efforts and cash assistance.
United States and the Caribbean
ADRA is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential medical supplies to thousands of health workers in suburban medical centers caring for COVID-19 patients, including Loma Linda University Health in California, and Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center in Maryland, where protective equipment is in short supply and orders can take up to 30 days to be delivered.
Additionally, ADRA has partnered with Florida-based AdventHealth to donate and ship protective gear and medical supplies to hospitals in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, where medical centers are also facing severe shortages of protective equipment for staff and supplies for patients.
ADRA is helping to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through educational campaigns for the elderly, patients with chronic illnesses, and people with special needs. It has launched massive prevention efforts and distributed thousands of bottles of antibacterial gel with the help of volunteers and churches in Mexico to reach the blind, deaf, and hard-of-hearing. In Paraguay, ADRA is serving more than 13,000 people, including 17 residential centers for homeless and trafficked children and adolescents, by training public health and welfare workers on health communication, clinical management, and COVID-19 prevention, surveillance, and patient control.
ADRA is disseminatingcommunication messaging and promotional campaigns through videos on social media, local provincial radio, brochures, posters, and banners to promote the importance of social distancing, good hygiene, and handwashing.
In Pakistan, more than 11,400 daily wage workers affected by the lockdown are receiving cash transfers, and in Thailand, nearly 1,500 people in nine refugee camps are receiving hygiene kits. In Cambodia, ADRA is providing PPE and medical supplies to more than 80 health centers and hospitals. In the Philippines, ADRA is distributing cash vouchers to thousands of quarantined families and more than 43 tons of supplementary food and cleaning supplies to low-income households.
ADRA is also addressing the COVID-19 crisis in Sri Lanka by distributing dry ration packs and hygiene kits to 6,500 people, establishing hand-washing stations, providing protective gear to hundreds of health-care professionals, and training public drivers on properly disinfecting and cleaning vehicles.
ADRA is serving more than 120,000 people in Kenya by providing essential needs and health assistance. In Gambia, ADRA is donating food to more than 2,500 low-income families and hygiene kits to dozens of public centers. In Mauritania, ADRA is delivering food and hygiene kits to more than 15,000 people. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the agency has adapted ongoing community health campaigns against other diseases such as Ebola toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of infection.
ADRA volunteers in Spain are distributing food and using 3D printer technology to create hundreds of facial shields for area hospitals, health-care facilities, and senior residences caring for COVID-19 patients. Additionally, ADRA is working with the Spanish government to provide shelter and essential services to the homeless.
In Belgium, ADRA is preparing and distributing food to several homeless shelters and dozens of migrants in Brussels. In neighboring France, 1,700 vulnerable families as well as migrants and refugees are receiving cash vouchers to buy urgent necessities. ADRA in Montenegro is distributing food packages and hygiene kits to hundreds of elderly and isolated residents and single parents who lost jobs due to COVID-19. In Russia, ADRA is manufacturing and distributing face masks to 35,000 beneficiaries in medical centers and homes for the elderly.
Australia and New Zealand
ADRA in Australia is supporting vulnerable people through services such as food pantries, cafes, and community meals programs. In New Zealand, ADRA is delivering supermarket gift cards across the country to 1,200 households to benefit 3,600 people economically impacted by the pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the way ADRA delivers humanitarian aid around the world,” said Mario Oliveira, director of emergency management at ADRA. “I am amazed at how ADRA programs have redirected, adapted different solutions, and implemented resources, with small amounts of funds in some cases, to do so much to respond to COVID-19 emergencies. We are taking advantage of our infrastructure, personnel, and trust of the communities we support to deliver aid promptly. We have also adapted to new regulations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, and clients.”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been a key ally in the majority of these projects as it has provided support through its network of hospitals, television and radio broadcast facilities, and thousands of volunteers. ADRA has also joined forces with other partner organizations, such as Airlink, Hong Kong Adventist Hospital, AdventHealth, World Vision China, and Latter-Day Saints Charities, to continue to deliver medical supplies and other resources to hospitals and health-care facilities to assist affected communities.