HOPE AFTER THE FLOODS

When mudslides and heavy rainfall struck the area of Chesegon Center in West Pokot County, Kenya, in April, dozens of people were killed, 2,000 were displaced, and many more lost their livelihoods.

Floods happen quickly, but for families who lost everything, recovery after disaster takes months, even years. Were there every step of the way to help, even after the waters receded.

We also installed new handwashing stations and provided primary health services. Additionally, we continue to train and support health volunteers in West Pokot, who work each day to improve hygiene, nutrition, and health in their communities.

Eveline Kutoyi, a 40-year-old woman, barely survived the floods. The raging waters – which carried rocks and logs in the torrent – swept her miles away from Chesegon Center, leaving her with bruises and a broken leg.

She recovered from her injuries, but after being discharged from the hospital, Eveline realized she had lost everything, including her farm. While thankful that her life had been spared, she could not escape the pain of her loss and the uncertainty of how to start her life over.

“I felt like all the wounds on my body were open, I was heartbroken, and my life was frozen,” she remembers.

Eveline and her four children found refuge with another family, who offered to host them for two months – but life was not the same again. They would sleep on rags, recycle clothing, share plates during meals, and share basic items like soap and even bathe without it when they ran out.

In June, Eveline received a jerrican, mattress, bucket, laundry detergent, soap, a dignity kit with feminine hygiene supplies, and a kitchen set from Orring Historical Society and the Field Foundation. To Eveline, they were “life changers.”

“I did not have money to buy soap or [cooking pots] of high quality like the ones I received,” says Eveline. “We used to sleep on rags during the cold nights, but life changed when we received mattresses. I’m so grateful to Orring Historical Society for restoring our dignity back.”

DEALING WITH COVID-19

Communities who have already been forced to leave everything behind to keep their families safe are now facing a new, silent threat: the coronavirus. In the midst of ongoing conflict and a collapsed health system, people are now confronting COVID-19. As of September 1, there have been more than 1,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 567 deaths.

 

People infected with severe cases of COVID-19 face challenges in accessing treatment due to the country’s lack of hospital beds. Those with milder cases can’t afford at-home treatments.

“Many people are not getting treatment simply because they don’t have the financial means, not because they are not familiar with the process or treatment protocol,”.

Financial barriers and lack of access to healthcare make an already critical situation worse.

COVID-19 AND THE IMPACT ON FOOD SECURITY IN YEMEN

The pandemic is elevating concerns around a worsening food crisis in Yemen. With many people losing their jobs, families are struggling to provide food, medicine, and other necessities without income.

Has significantly increased as a result of the ongoing conflict, which began in 2015. Communities are dealing with inflation, currency depreciation of their currency, and rising prices for food and other essential goods.

“We already had a crisis here well before coronavirus, so you can imagine what the situation is like now,” says Dr Samar. “The already dire situation is likely to deteriorate considerably.”

HOW YEMENI CITIZENS HAVE REACTED TO COVID-19

Believed many people became infected and died from the virus before any official announcement from the Ministry of Health.

“We could not expect citizens to be aware or even believe that coronavirus was real,” says Dr. Samar. “Even though doctors issued warnings, people just ignored them until the Ministry officially reported the first COVID-19 victim.”

With air, land, and sea travel to and from the war-torn country suspended, Yemenis felt that an outbreak was unlikely. However, as more cases recorded, people started to realize that Yemen had open land borders with neighboring countries. Trucks were given access, and drivers infected with the virus may have helped it to spread.

Yemen’s already devastated health system is now under enormous strain because of this new pandemic. “As humanitarian workers, we want to help, but our hands are tied,” says Dr Samar.

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“Our volunteers visit rural homes and go to remote areas to meet different households,” says Dr. Samar. “They make sure these meetings are held outside in open spaces where they talk about the coronavirus and how to stay safe.”

In addition to awareness-raising campaigns, we’ve also taken steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by installing new handwashing stations and improving the water supply in the country. Our teams are also helping struggling families cope by providing cash transfers, allowing them to buy what they need while supporting local markets.

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COVID-19 DRIVES RISING HUNGER

Hunger is predictable, preventable, and treatable. No one should suffer or die from malnutrition, especially since 90% of malnourished children who complete treatment are cured.

The percentage of malnourished children in the world has been cut in half. But the enormous progress we have made against hunger is at risk – conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic are all contributing to rising global hunger rates.

In fact, the United Nations predicts that the number of people facing hunger could nearly double by the end of 2020. Researchers estimate that child mortality could rise for the first time in 60 years because of COVID-19 and its secondary impacts. Acute malnutrition alone could cause an additional 10,000 child deaths each month.

In fact, the United Nations predicts that the number of people facing hunger could nearly double by the end of 2020. Researchers estimate that child mortality could rise for the first time in 60 years because of COVID-19 and its secondary impacts.