THE SITUATION

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affects us all. It will have unthinkable consequences in the places CARE is already delivering lifesaving aid—places where health care systems are already weak, and where disaster and conflict have wiped out long-term food supplies. In these communities, there are far too many vulnerable people and too few resources to fight a deadly virus like COVID-19.

We are particularly concerned about the potential impact for refugees and displaced people, many of whom are living in overcrowded camps and settlements, with limited access to proper hygiene supplies, facilities, and health services. A COVID-19 outbreak in a refugee settlement would be life-threatening for countless people.

CARE is working with communities around the world to save lives and help stop the spread of the virus. We are building on our past experience responding to outbreaks of infectious disease in vulnerable communities—all while focusing on women and girls as we know that they are disproportionately affected by emergencies.

CARE'S RESPONSE

Women and girls around the world face unique risks.

  • Comprising 70% of the global health work force, and typically assuming a caretaker role with family and the ill, women are at a much greater risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • Sexual and reproductive health resources that help save the lives of women are often redirected to fighting disease, leaving women at a greater risk of complications
  • During outbreaks, women and girls face a spike of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation
  • CARE is advocating for continued humanitarian access, increased humanitarian funding and for the voices of women and girls to be heard in planning and executing our global humanitarian response

For those living in developing countries, these risks compound existing frailties.

  • Those already living without adequate food, shelter, water and health services will be unable to take preventive measures like social distancing and proper hand washing
  • Countries with weak health care systems, that host some of the 70 million displaced people worldwide, or that are enduring conflict, typically also have limited or no capacity to cope with an epidemic.
  • In developing countries, we know that in times of crisis girls are often the first to be pulled out of school to support their families. Similarly, women are often the last to eat, or to be able to earn an income to support themselves. For these reasons, COVID-19 not only poses risks to women and girls right now, but over the long-term.


How CARE is making a difference

  • CARE has programs addressing humanitarian need, including COVID-19, in 63 countries around the world
  • CARE is raising awareness of COVID-19 and safety measures like proper hand washing and prevention of gender-based violence, reaching nearly 1,930,000 people directly
  • We have are equipping women, girls and their families with hygiene kits, hand washing stations and clean water
  • CARE is ensuring that women and girls have enough to eat, distributing food and/or cash vouchers
  • CARE is advocating for continued humanitarian access, increased humanitarian funding and for the voices of women and girls to be heard in planning and executing our global humanitarian response

 
COVID-19 is a truly global pandemic. Our world is only as strong as the most vulnerable among us. Only as we ensure that our most vulnerable citizens—women and girls in developing countries—have the information, tools and support to keep themselves safe from COVID-19, will we stop the spread.

The world will only be safe when all of us are safe.

Help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives in some of the world's most vulnerable places.

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