In recent weeks the world has changed dramatically. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has hit all of our field countries as well as our fundraising countries. In these situations it is those in poverty who suffer most. The prices of food and hygiene items have been increasing, and the poor will feel this most severely. Sadly, it is also the case that the long-term malnutrition that is a consequence of poverty has a huge impact on people’s ability to fight any infection. This means that those we work with are particularly vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus.
The situation is changing daily as governments try to stop the spread of the disease. A number of the countries we serve have declared a state of emergency and are seeking financial aid from the world community in order to be able to manage the crisis.
The spread of the virus has meant that there have been changes in terms of how we are able to work with those we serve in Eastern Europe:
- Travel restrictions are limiting what is possible in terms of visiting families, children and communities
- Increasing cases of the virus in the communities we work within resulting in less or no visits to those communities
- Restrictions on events and people gathering together means our soup kitchens cannot operate in the same way in many instances.
- After school clubs and events where we seek to provide Christian input are closed. As Easter approaches this will be particularly hard.
- Transportation of Gifts in Kind is no longer possible in some countries
- Prices of food and hygiene items is increasing as people worry that they will run out
Our local staff are continuing to support people as best they can, providing alternative meals to the elderly where soup kitchens are not taking place, handing out food to the homeless, and keeping in regular phone contact with families they are unable to visit. As we saw with the recent earthquake in Albania, the trust that our families have in our local staff is invaluable and strong when disaster strikes.
At the same time our fundraising offices around the world have been affected. It has become necessary to work from home and planned supporter events and fundraising activities are being cancelled. It seems likely that this will have a negative impact on our ability to raise funds that are needed for us to carry out our work.
If you are able, please consider making an additional donation to our work this month to help Mission Without Borders and the people of Eastern Europe get through this difficult time.