Tullamore woman Fiona O’Malley, who is the Director of Communications and Fundraising for World Vision Ireland, has warned that the coronavirus will completely overwhelm the health system in Syria.
O’Malley said that the aftermath of Covid-19 could lead to the death of 30 million children in the developing world. Thousands of people in the Syrian camps are living in tents or sleeping outside in the freezing cold. Nine children froze to death in the camps in February.
“If coronavirus hits the camps in Syria, it will spread like wildfire,” Fiona said. “These camps are overcrowded, lack hygiene facilities, food supplies, and clean, running water. A lot of these camps are rife with poor health - many families are already battling tuberculosis, pneumonia, hypothermia, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, malaria, anemia, HIV and AIDS.”
World Vision is a child-focused international aid charity which plans to reach 22.5 million people, 11 million of which are children, across 17 priority countries, with their Covid-19 response.
“People who have so little are exposed to so much danger, in this crisis,” Fiona explained. “Whilst every country is experiencing difficulties and tragedies in their response to the coronavirus, these issues are heightened and more dangerous for people in the Syrian camps.”
World Vision Ireland has stated that as many as 30 million children’s lives are in danger from secondary health impacts:
- 26 million+ children at greater risk of being exposed to other deadly diseases because of lack of immunisation
- 5 million+ children could suffer from increasing malnutrition, which is an increase of almost 40% from the current levels
- 100,000+ children could die from malaria, which is a 50% increase from current levels
The countries World Vision is issuing programme responses to Covid-19 include Syria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, DR Congo, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Mainland China, Mongolia, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, and Thailand.
Globally, World Vision has experience and expertise helping communities prepare and respond to virus outbreaks. The charity has previously worked to combat the spread of Ebola in Africa and Zika in Latin American; and has educated thousands of communities in the developing world about the importance of hand hygiene, basic health care, and disease control. World Vision Ireland is calling on the Irish public to donate whatever they can to help the world’s most vulnerable children by going to www.worldvision.ie.