Covid-19's Impact in Korah & Emergency Measures Needed!
We are all in this Together - Supporting our HFK Families, Children and Elders
Dear Friends of Korah,
This is such a sad and difficult time for so many people all around the world, and for the people of Korah who are living in overcrowded slums, where practicing good hygiene and social distancing is not a privilege, but is almost impossible to achieve, this Coronavirus pandemic has added an even greater burden to their lives.
On Monday July 14th, Ethiopia reported an additional 203 new cases, bringing the updated total to 7,969 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 139 deaths, 2,430 recoveries, with most instances in the capital city Addis Ababa. The government has instituted a wide range of measures to help contain the spread of the virus, announicng a five-month state of emergency beginning in April. All schools are closed and social gatherings prohibited. Travel restrictions are enforced and all land borders are closed. Addis Ababa government offices (except for essential services) have closed and people are ordered to work from home. Overall, the mood around the country is changing, as fear and anxiety is increasing. Ethiopia expects to hit the height of the curve sometime in June.
Covid-19 Impact on Children & Families
Due to important government restrictions and social distancing mandates all HFK group activities and programs at our youth and family compounds have been put on hold until further notice. Many of our HFK staff are working from home or are on paid leave except for select leadership and essential services staff.
In the Korah community, misinformation is intertwined with facts and there is a growing sense of fear. Families are very worried and there is a real possibility that local shops and markets may be closed as that has already happened in other regions of the country. This is significantly impacting food stability for those who already have very little. Food prices have soared and certain staples are already unavailable. Many of our families survive day to day on meager incomes earned in jobs that have halted due to this crisis. Providing food and caring for the basic needs of these families is our top priority.
To date, there are 226 coronavirus cases in the Korah area. Local hospitals and clinics are turning away people to make room for possible Covid-19 patients. Prescriptions and needed medicines are becoming less accessible. Consequently, we are also seeing an increase in HFK’s medical costs and clinic visits. Last week, one of our elders, Abba Tirasu was quite ill, yet the hospital turned him away as they have decreased their daily quota down to only 25 patients. He is now being cared for by HFK’s medical staff at the Elders’ Home.
In addition, amidst all of this, there is currently a big water shortage in Korah. The water is intermittent and last week they did not have water for six days!
HFK's Emergency Measures
Considering all of this, we have been working with our Ethiopian staff to put the following Emergency Measures into place:
- This includes making sure that all guards, medical staff, and caregivers will stay on duty during quarantines and curfews, to respond to the current emergency and needs of those we serve.
- All staff, their families and all HFK beneficiaries have received reusable cloth masks. Wearing masks is part of the government social distancing mandate.
- Additional soap, detergents and an extra three months of food provisions and charcoal have been distributed to all HFK families, elders, orphans and stored at our compounds.
- Those families who have already graduated from our income generation program and whose source of income is being impacted due to closures have also been given needed sanitary supplies, teff and grocery support during this time.
- In addition, all sponsored children's families are receiving emergency food support regardless of whether their parents are in the HFK family sponsorship program or not.
- Those living at our Elders’ Leprosy Home have been quarantined and no visitors, but only staff are allowed.
- Additional medical supplies have been purchased for the HFK clinic and an emergency relief plan put into place.
- Medical and social work staff have been reinforcing the importance of proper hand washing, reviewing proper technique, hygiene practices and social distancing protocols to our families as well as communicating accurate information on this disease.
- All water tanks at all HFK compounds have been filled and an additional tank purchased for the Elders’ Home. We have arranged for truckloads of water to refill all tanks as needed.
- To support the Korah community at large, HFK has purchased two 2,000-gallon water tanks, one for each of the woredas (sub-city districts) we serve. These are being used by the woredas to support others who have no access to water.
Standing Together in Prayer
As you can see, we are preparing for what might lie ahead giving our best efforts to supporting our families, but most important of all we are praying for them. Please join us in praying not only for the people of Korah, but for Canada, the USA and countries worldwide who are all in the terrible grip of this Coronavirus. We are especially aware that this could also be an extremely hard time for you and for many who have stood with Korah over the years. We are praying for all. We are all in this together!
Helping Where Needed Most
Amidst this time of uncertainty, Hope for Korah continues to have many emergency needs and many significant ongoing commitments we must support. So many depend on us as they are impacted by this pandemic and work towards breaking the cycle of poverty. If it is on your heart and you are able to help by giving to a specific program or "WHERE IT IS NEEDED MOST" - it would be very welcomed and much appreciated! A gift can be made here.
Thank you for your continuing compassion and concern for our elders, children and families in Korah. May God also be with you, protect you and give you peace.
With prayers and hope for all,
HFK Executive Director