World Vision has dramatically scaled up its emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus continues to spread rapidly around the world. It is the largest ever humanitarian aid plan the charity has launched in its 70 year history.
The international aid agency is now aiming to reach 72 million people across the globe with funds of £275 million – more than four times its original budget. It will execute the plan across more than 70 countries including Iraq, Syria, Brazil, Afghanistan and the DRC.
World Vision International President and CEO, Andrew Morley, says:
“We have never witnessed an emergency of this scale, impacting so many countries at once. For the first time in our 70 year history we are transforming our focus in every single country to an emergency response, so we can support those who are most vulnerable to combat this deadly virus and its aftershocks.”
World Vision is warning that the pandemic could reverse progress made to save lives and reduce poverty over the past 30 years. Children will bear the brunt of the crisis. Child mortality rates, which have more than halved since 1990, are at risk of rising once again.
The charity will mobilise 37,000 staff, 400,000 faith leaders and 220,000 community health workers to combat the virus.
It is feared that COVID-19 will run rampant through some of the poorest, most fragile and dangerous parts of the world. Advanced health services are almost non-existent in these places. Lockdowns and social distancing are impossible for people who live in crowded refugee camps, slums and settlements. Many families who live hand to mouth are already being forced to choose between risking exposure to the virus or starving.
“The impacts of COVID-19 could permanently scar the development of a generation of the world’s most vulnerable children. Unless the international community prioritises countries which are at greatest long-term risk, this pandemic will leave millions of girls and boys poorer, hungrier, sicker, less educated and exposed to more violence and abuse.”
World Vision is calling on world leaders, now focused on the economic impact of COVID-19, to place equal priority on curbing its deadly long-term impact on the world’s most vulnerable.
“We have launched the largest emergency response in our history but World Vision and other aid agencies cannot combat the detrimental impacts of COVID-19 on our own. We now challenge governments, individuals and corporations to do much more to limit the spread of COVID-19 in low-income countries and safeguard children from the devastating aftershocks the virus could create.
“We have one chance to get this right. We must come together and respond to this global pandemic by supporting everyone impacted across the globe, especially the most vulnerable.”
World Vision is working globally alongside the UN and governments to combat the coronavirus outbreak. The charity’s frontline workers are promoting preventative measures like handwashing, supporting health systems and workers, and providing support to children with increased vulnerability as a result of the virus.