DEC Coronavirus Appeal funding work in eight countries

A displaced child in Yemen

A child stands near her family's shelter in a displacement camp in Marib, Yemen. Rabie Al-Zuhairy/CARE

The DEC launched its Coronavirus Appeal in July last year to help people in fragile states and refugee camps protect themselves from Covid-19. The appeal initially covered the world’s five most fragile states, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and DR Congo; Asia’s most fragile state, Afghanistan; and the world’s biggest refugee settlement, the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh. 

Large numbers of displaced people in these fragile places were facing the pandemic living in crowded conditions, with little access to healthcare or even clean water. 

The DEC’s initial priorities were providing families with clean water, soap and information on keeping themselves safe; providing frontline medical and aid workers with equipment and supplies to care for the vulnerable and sick; and ensuring families get enough food to prevent malnutrition, particularly amongst children, given the devastating economic effects of the virus. 

During the first six months of the response, across the seven places covered by the appeal, 10,000 frontline workers were supplied with PPE, 165,000 households were provided with soap, water containers and other hygiene items, 97 health facilities were supported and at least 1.3 million people were reached with information on staying safe during the pandemic. 

In March, we published an in-depth report on how the pandemic was affecting fragile states, with the findings pointing to a worsening humanitarian situation. Hunger and food insecurity was, and remains, a particular concern in several countries. By the end of April this year, the appeal had raised £41 million to help people in these fragile places. 

Medical works care for patients in a makeshift ward

Health workers tend to coronavirus patients in a makeshift ward set up in a banquet hall in Delhi, India. Image: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

India’s devastating wave 

In April, a devastating and unprecedented wave of coronavirus infections spread exponentially in India, overwhelming health services and leading to many people dying before they could receive basic treatment. 

With the outbreak causing such great need and given the very large number of poor and marginalised people in the country, the DEC extended the Coronavirus Appeal to cover India, and restricted donations from 28 April to be used for this response. Many of our member charities have a long-standing presence in India and were able to quickly scale up their operations, supporting health services and vulnerable communities. Medical supplies and equipment, including oxygen concentrators, were supplied to tackle shortages. In total, the DEC and its member charities raised an additional £14 million between 28 April and 9 June, bringing the total funds raised for the appeal to over £55 million. 

An aid worker pours lentils into a sack

An Action Against Hunger volunteer prepares isolation kits in Juba, South Sudan, where food insecurity is rising. Image: Peter Caton/Action Against Hunger

Ongoing global need

With new variants of coronavirus threatening to overwhelm fragile health systems and the secondary effects of the pandemic driving up hunger, the DEC will now be allocating donations where the needs are greatest in all eight locations - the original seven places and India.  

The scale of need is immense. Several countries are on the brink of famine as a result of the secondary effects of the pandemic and displaced people remain vulnerable to new variants. It will be a long time before a significant proportion of the population can be vaccinated in fragile states such as Yemen or Somalia. 

From 9 June 2021, donations to our appeal will be allocated where the needs are greatest for our members to use in all eight locations. Donations from any fundraising events or online fundraisers started between 28 April and 9 June will still be directed to India. If you have any questions about this, please contact our support care team

The pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to the DEC and its member charities and we do not rule out further extensions of our appeal as the virus continues to circulate and mutate around the world. However, we are mindful of not spreading our funding too thinly so as to make sure it is as effective as possible, and will be guided in these decisions by our member charities working on the ground.