All of the countries where we work are striving to slow the spread of the coronavirus through restrictions on public gatherings or quarantines. Below, you can find the most up-to-date reports from those countries, and how the new guidelines are affecting Compassion programming. Please continue to check back to this page for further updates.
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Asia Region: Updates
[Update as of September 24, 2020 at 11:16 a.m. EST]
Bangladesh is experiencing what some relief organizations call a twin crisis of weather disasters and a pandemic that has killed thousands. Currently, the country is dealing with its worst flood in a decade, leaving half a million people homeless. At the same time, COVID-19 cases are still rising, with more than 337,500 reported cases and more than 4,700 deaths. It is believed that 72% of the population is unemployed due to movement restrictions and workplace closures. Half of the population is now food-insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to enough safe and nutritious food to live a healthy life.
All Compassion group activities remain on hold. Compassion Bangladesh staff and local partners have been able to send 157,330 food packs and 158,888 hygiene kits to beneficiary families. Additionally, they have provided medical support to 2,242 people. They report that many families have no source of income, so they are providing necessary funds to buy daily essentials. They also maintain regular contact with children and caregivers through phone calls.
Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, announced that it will reinstate wide-scale social restrictions as a second wave of infections threatens to overwhelm its health system. Indonesia has officially reported more than 8,000 deaths from COVID-19, the highest death toll in Southeast Asia.
Compassion child development centres remain closed for activities, though some have reopened for administrative purposes and preparation for the time when children will be allowed to return. Mentors and tutors are bringing food supplies to children’s homes weekly and are helping some families plant gardens at their homes. Church partners are using a variety of ways to minister to the children, including delivering handouts, broadcasting on the radio, and live streaming lessons. Older students have helped tutors and church staff record video lessons for younger children.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, staff members have distributed 657,504 food packs and 530,909 hygiene kits and provided medical support to 42,697 individuals.
The Philippines department of health reports that total infections have increased to 269,407, the highest in Southeast Asia, while confirmed deaths have reached 4,663. Forty-one percent of new cases are in metro Manila. The government recently allowed malls and restaurants to reopen there. In Manila, Filipinos under 20 years old or above 60 years old are not allowed outside their homes, except for serious medical reasons, according to Human Rights Watch.
Compassion partner churches and child development centres are still closed for large group activities, but in some districts, youths are able to meet in groups of five to 10 while following social distancing guidelines. Center workers continue to give relief supplies to families and children. They have been able to distribute 548,435 food packs and 305,296 hygiene kits.
Additionally, 36,882 people have been provided with medical support during this season. Partner churches are meeting with parents and providing online resources to support families doing school from home, as well as providing equipment, supplies and emotional support for parents who struggle to help their children with school assignments.
Sri Lanka’s early lockdown and widespread testing have led to one of the most successful pandemic responses in South Asia, with remarkably low COVID-19 numbers. Even so, the government announced on Sept. 17 that airports will not be reopened until the epidemic has been brought under 100% control. Strict curfews have led to many more people staying at home, and there has been a reported increase in domestic violence against among women and children.
Compassion programming is on hold, but centres are working to fulfill government guidelines that will allow them to reopen. Some are projected to open in late September. Partners are committed to reaching out to families via phone at least once a week, and in some areas they have been able to conduct home visits and hold cooking classes while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
They have distributed 107,451 food packs and 60,906 hygiene kits, and are delivering seed packets and disease-prevention information as they are able under the government guidelines. Children continue to write letters to their sponsors from home.
On Sept. 3, Thailand reported its first locally transmitted COVID-19 case since late May. After testing nearly 600 potentially exposed people, no more new infections were found. The re-emergence of the virus may cause a delay in previously announced plans to reopen beaches and cultural sites to international visitors in October. The government had lifted most restrictions on businesses and services but that could change. Since March, Thailand has reported 3,490 cases and 58 fatalities.
Recently 179 Compassion centres in Thailand were able to reopen with a limited number of children attending and with COVID-19 prevention protocols in place. Several more centres have been approved by the national office to reopen at the end of September. In areas where centres have not been able to open yet, workers are keeping in contact with beneficiaries by phone and occasionally by in-person visits, while maintaining social distancing. Additionally, staff members have developed online resources, including devotionals, for children and families. They have been able to distribute 107,599 food packs and 68,689 hygiene kits to registered children and their families.
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