World Vision launches COVID-19 appeal to help world’s most vulnerable

World Vision Australia today launched its COVID-19 appeal in a growing effort to protect the world’s most vulnerable against the rapid, global spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The international aid agency is boosting its response in 17 countries as concerns mount for countries with health systems ill-equipped to combat the highly-infectious disease.

As Australians cope with the impact on their own lives, World Vision Australia’s Acting CEO, Graham Strong, urged people to consider the devastating impact of the virus on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.

“This deadly virus has already reached developing countries that are ill-equipped to manage the pandemic. Children and families are facing the threat of this new enemy when they are already battling health issues like tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria, HIV and AIDS, and high rates of malnutrition in developing countries,” he said.

“Then there’s the nightmare for millions of refugees and displaced people living in large, overcrowded, often unhygienic areas, with little or no access to proper clean water. These communities are petri dishes for the virus to spread at exponential rates – resulting in a tsunami of COVID-19 cases simultaneously hitting multiple regions,” Mr Strong said.

World Vision has been distributing protection equipment and supplies in Asia, and further action is now underway in some of the world’s most fragile societies, including Afghanistan, DR Congo, Iraq, Haiti and Syria. Teams on the ground are supporting vulnerable communities by promoting prevention behaviours, offering essential health advice and psycho-social support, and engaging government health authorities.

Mr Strong said the organisation had extensive expertise preparing communities for virus outbreaks and were on standby to help.

“We have worked to combat the spread of Ebola in Africa and Zika in Latin America, and to educate thousands of communities about basic health care and disease control. As with every emergency before, we have always pulled through and we will continue to focus our efforts on preventing transmission, supporting health responses and caring for children made vulnerable by this crisis,” he said.

“The entire world is facing the COVID-19 crisis – and regardless of where we are in the world, we are facing this challenge together. And we can all make a difference.”

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