Medair responding to first wave of Covid-19 in Jordan
Lausanne, 30 October 2020 – Emergency relief and recovery organisation Medair is responding to the first wave of coronavirus in Jordan. As of 30 October, the country has 69,306 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with an additional 3,921 new cases reported on the same day.
Following one of the strictest lockdowns in the world in March 2020, Jordan previously had one of the lowest infection rates of coronavirus in the Middle East.
‘At the beginning of the pandemic back in March, some people didn’t believe that there is a disease called COVID-19,’ says Jumana, a Syrian refugee living in Jordan. ‘But after a huge increase in number of deaths and cases, we are starting to believe it.’
Medair is responding to the rapid increase in cases, delivering public health messaging to prevent the spread of the virus, using WhatsApp and mobile phones to provide mental and physical health support where face-to-face meetings are not possible, and providing emergency cash assistance to vulnerable families who are unable to work because of lockdown measures.
‘We are doing all we can to reach the most vulnerable families who are at high risk of being infected with the virus,’ says Haneen Abulaila, Health Project Manager for Medair in Amman. ‘I believe that the trust we have built in our relationships with the people we serve makes us the best people to respond to this pandemic.’
The cost of living in Jordan is very high, and many families struggle to find the means to feed their families, let alone purchase essential items such as soap, disinfectant, and face masks. During lockdown measures, many vulnerable families who depend on daily labour for their income have resorted to taking out loans or going into debt just to survive.
Jordan currently hosts around 755,000 refugees, more than 655,000 are from neighbouring Syria. Four in five refugees in Jordan live in makeshift tents, rented apartments, or unfinished buildings, where isolating from symptomatic family members to reduce the spread of the virus is difficult.
For both refugees and vulnerable Jordanian families, the strain of the pandemic has increased reported feelings of stress, anxiety, and worry.
Medair’s work in Jordan is supported by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, German Foreign Federal Office, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and generous private donors.
For interviews, photographs, and b-roll, please contact Tamara Elkouz.
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