Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
Through our partners, Week of Compassion is responding to the urgent situation in India, as well as in other parts of the world where COVID-19 rates are escalating. In many countries, new strains of the virus are causing widespread economic hardship, compounding illness and loss of life.
Joseph Sahayam, from our partner CASA in India, reflects, “It’s time to unite and focus on immediate needs. The situation in India could be a warning for the rest of the world, but also lead the way to more global solidarity.”
In India, COVID-19 infection rates are rising exponentially and the health system is collapsing under the burden. Hospitals in urban centers are overcrowded and often turn people away. Supplies, including oxygen, are running low, and various strains of the virus more frequently require that patients be treated with oxygen. Families that already struggled to meet basic needs have become even more vulnerable to hunger and other challenges. Grief, anxiety, and depression are common across the population. With partial lockdown in place in many states and full lockdown in others, migrant guest workers are returning to their native villages. In addition to the economic impact of the loss of work, the influx into the villages may contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas. Week of Compassion is responding, supporting our partners as they work to meet the urgent needs of this new wave and prevent the further spread of disease; while also looking ahead to long-term needs and planning for the future.
Several weeks ago, on the morning of February 7, a glacier burst in the Raini village of the Himalayas, causing a flash flood in Rishiganga River. The resulting landslide killed at least 36 people, and nearly 200 more remain missing. Most of those killed or missing are believed to be workers at the hydropower projects, where the landslide originated. Villagers that were close to the river when the disaster occurred were also swept away.
Week of Compassion is responding, supporting our partners on the ground who are working tirelessly to get critical supplies to those in need, despite many significant challenges.
Imagine that you have to travel far from home in order to find work to support your family. You find a job in the city, and a place to stay, so that you can work and send money home to your loved ones. But then, a global pandemic shuts down the economy. There is no longer work, and you must leave the city to return home. It isn’t safe to travel- but the crowded city is unsafe as well, and you will have nowhere to stay since you are no longer working.
In Thailand, a 13-year-old girl arrives at The New Life Center, seeking relief from the cruel conditions that have brought her here. Her life up to this point has been mostly about survival. Here, she meets others like her. Some of them are survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, or human trafficking. Some have been forced to work when they wanted to go to school.
What will the future be like when she is empowered to share her gifts with her community and the world?
Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Over two years ago, the Rohingya people of Myanmar experienced one of the largest forced displacements of our time. Earlier this month, Week of Compassion Executive Director Rev. Vy Nguyen traveled to Bangladesh and Myanmar. His travels included a visit to the refugee camp in the Cox’s Bazaar district. With nearly 1 million displaced residents, it is the largest, most densely populated refugee camp in the world.
From the camp, the border to Myanmar is only about 100 yards away; and yet, many who live there cannot return home.
In the United States and Canada, we have the privilege of taking toilets for granted. They are everywhere--just a part of our daily lives. Many homes even have more than one, and they can be found in most public places. Even on a long stretch of highway, one can almost always be found when needed. But in other parts of the world, toilets save lives. Sanitation is among the first, most urgent concerns following a major disaster, and also in the ongoing development work that we support around the world. That’s why today, November 19, is recognized as World Toilet Day in the humanitarian development and disaster response communities.
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