Millions of people in the Horn of Africa depend on humanitarian aid. COVID-19 is making the situation worse. In Ethiopia and Somalia, cooperation with the German Red Cross has made it possible to respond quickly and flexibly to the pandemic by implementing sanitation and health measures.
Horn of Africa – situation made worse by COVID-19
The corona pandemic has the world firmly in its clutches. Almost every country in the world is affected and healthcare systems are almost at breaking point. The situation can become particularly dangerous for the people and regions that already depend on aid. In the Horn of Africa, for example, armed conflicts and terrorism already posed a threat to the lives of millions of people even before the pandemic. Alternating droughts and floods and the recent devastating plague of locusts endanger the food supply.
It is thus vital to respond rapidly and resolutely in order to contain the pandemic. Countries in the region, such as Somalia and Ethiopia, took immediate action, imposing lockdowns, closing borders and making the wearing of face masks compulsory, with the aim of halting the spread of the virus. However, the healthcare systems in rural regions are scarcely able to cope with to rising infection rates. At the same time, the containment measures are also curtailing scope to provide humanitarian aid.
Access to water, sanitation and healthcare
Germany stands shoulder to shoulder with African countries, particularly during times of crisis. With the help of the German Red Cross, it has been possible to take further measures rapidly in Somalia and Ethiopia in order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. One focus of the projects is on providing access to drinking water, soap and sanitation facilities. Only in this way can fundamental protection measures be taken in the field of hygiene. A further aim of the projects is to improve local healthcare.
Innovative cooperation with the German Red Cross
The global project with the German Red Cross forms the basis for these rapid aid projects. The Federal Foreign Office provides the German Red Cross with a fixed amount of funding for a fixed period of time. In 2020, it is providing 25 million euro. In crisis situations, the German Red Cross can deploy this funding quickly and flexibly, thus enabling it to respond to new situations straight away.
Immediately after the launch of the new funding model, the German Red Cross and its partner organisations around the world were able to respond to unforeseen events such as earthquakes or cyclones and to provide aid without delay. In the fight against COVID-19, it has also been possible to take measures in Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Honduras and Pakistan similar to those in Somalia and Ethiopia. Further countries will follow.
The German Red Cross – a reliable partner
The German Red Cross is a long-standing and trusted partner of the Federal Foreign Office, particularly as regards developing innovative approaches in humanitarian aid. For example, the German Red Cross has played a crucial role in enhancing the international humanitarian system in recent years in terms of humanitarian disaster risk management and anticipatory humanitarian aid.