Center for Disaster Philanthropy Awards $500,000 to Action Against Hunger for COVID-19 Relief in East Africa

Source: NGO Wire

Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian and development organization, has been awarded $500,000 from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s (CDP) COVID-19 Response Fund to provide immediate relief for nearly 300,000 people in East Africa affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant prioritizes Somalia, where Action Against Hunger is one of the few remaining international organizations addressing the pandemic. In the country’s capital of Mogadishu, a city of 2.5 million, Action Against Hunger is supporting the only quarantine hospital, which has just 25 ICU beds for severe COVID-19 cases. Hospital staff are temporarily living in the facility to meet rising needs and to minimize the risk of returning home to infect their families with COVID-19. CDP funding will also help Action Against Hunger to establish two new COVID-19 treatment centers and to support existing health systems.

“The situation in Somalia is grave, and we are grateful that the Center for Disaster Philanthropy is stepping up to provide life-saving support when it is so urgently needed,” said Ahmed Khalif, Action Against Hunger’s Somalia Country Director. “Most of the humanitarian actors have withdrawn their staff from Somalia and other donors have warned that they cannot provide assistance. Somalia’s limited facilities are already cracking under the pressure. The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities.”

Many private medical providers in Somalia are turning away suspected COVID-19 cases due to a lack of capacity and fear of the virus. In a recent survey of an East African coalition of NGOs, 94.4% reported delaying or canceling surge deployments of personnel in the face of COVID-19, and 66.7% have withdrawn staff from countries they serve, most frequently from South Sudan, Somalia, and others topping the list of U.N. concerns about a potential “hunger pandemic.”

COVID-19 could be especially devastating in Somalia, a country reeling from years of severe food insecurity, conflict, drought, and floods, and now facing record-breaking swarms of locusts that are compounding already dangerously high malnutrition rates. According to the United Nations, 5.4 million people in Somalia do not have enough food to eat and only half the population has basic access to water — making it nearly impossible to follow hygiene practices, such as handwashing to prevent the pandemic’s spread. Hunger rates in Somalia will be further impacted by COVID-19’s secondary effects including disruptions of livelihoods, trade, and supply chains and funding gaps in the country’s national budget.

To close this gap, Action Against Hunger will use CDP funds to rapidly scale up health, water, hygiene, and food security programs in Somalia and in communities across East Africa that have a weak healthcare infrastructure, both in terms of human resources and basic supplies.

“We rapidly mobilized our COVID-19 Response Fund to help address the most pressing needs of the communities especially vulnerable to the pandemic, and it’s hard to imagine a more urgent scenario than what the people of Somalia now face,” said Patricia McIlreavy, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. “We are proud to support Action Against Hunger and advance our goal to minimize the effects of this pandemic and the natural disasters that are worsening its impact. Together, we hope to promote a thoughtful, equitable and responsible recovery for all.”

Action Against Hunger takes a localized approach in all its programs, working closely with Ministries of Health, local healthcare staff, and community groups such as farmers’ cooperatives and women’s groups. It will use the funds to reach more people with water and hygiene programs, and to provide staff with training, personal protective equipment, and other necessary medical supplies.

Action Against Hunger is the world’s hunger specialist and a nonprofit leader in a global movement that aims to end life-threatening hunger for good. For 41 years, the humanitarian organization has innovated better ways to treat and prevent hunger. It serves more than 21 million people annually across nearly 50 countries and earned a 4-star Charity Navigator rating for its 14th consecutive year.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s mission is to leverage the power of philanthropy to mobilize a full range of resources that strengthen the ability of communities to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur. CDP manages domestic and international Disaster Funds on behalf of corporations, foundations and individuals through targeted, holistic and localized grantmaking. For more information, visit: http://disasterphilanthropy.org