A year and a half on from the start of the COVID‑19 pandemic, the figures are devastating. Up until July 2021, some 188 million people worldwide had been infected with COVID‑19. More than 4.05 million died as a result of the disease. The crisis has also had economic, social and humanitarian repercussions. Even countries which initially came through the pandemic relatively well are being hit by its economic impact.
Helping. Together. Worldwide.
That is why Germany is supporting countries acutely affected. Because the pandemic can only be countered successfully if we stand united. As at mid-July 2021, the German Government had donated over 220 million face masks, 1500 ventilation devices, 100,000 pulse oximeters and 100,000 litres of disinfectant, as well as medicines, from German stocks to countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Germany’s missions abroad, too, are providing important assistance – in Nepal, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Bangladesh and the Dominican Republic, for example.
Supporting the healthcare system
More than 400,000 people in Nepal have been infected with the coronavirus. Hospital capacities are limited, and the treatment costs are so high that many of the sick have no chance of getting adequate medical care.
So in 2020 the German Embassy in Kathmandu focused its support on those who are crucial in fighting the pandemic: healthcare workers.
By providing protective equipment and hygiene kits and setting up handwashing stations in Kailali district, the Embassy helped to improve both the hygiene situation in local clinics and the safety of medical staff. The mission also organised further-training courses for nurses and doctors in the effective organisation of quarantine measures. In early June 2021, in order to prevent the healthcare system from collapsing as a result of the massive spread of the virus, the Federal Foreign Office, in collaboration with the Embassy in Kathmandu and the Nepalese Red Cross, organised two further aid projects in Kailali and Banke districts. Various aid supplies such as oxygen bottles and disinfectant dispensers are being provided.
Similar supplies have also arrived in Manicaland Province in Zimbabwe. The German Embassy in the country is helping 22 selected healthcare facilities to procure and transport essential medicines and consumables.
Tackling the lack of everyday items
In many countries, however, there is a lack not only of medical equipment, but also of basic items. This is the case in parts of Brazil, for example, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. So in March 2021, in cooperation with local NGOs, the Consulate General in São Paulo distributed 2500 food parcels. The Embassy in Dhaka, too, distributed thousands of food packages in Bangladesh. The emergency food aid provided by the Embassy was urgently needed, as the people in the south and south-west of Bangladesh were affected not only by the pandemic but also by flooding.
In the Dominican Republic, the German Embassy supported 265 families in particular need as a result of the pandemic, for instance because they had lost their source of income. The Embassy helped in various ways, for example by providing cash-based humanitarian assistance over several months and delivering hygiene kits to 135 families. In addition, the Embassy supported the work of municipal leaders, helping them, for instance, to organise quarantine measures and get information to the public.
Working together to overcome the pandemic
These microprojects are just some examples of Germany’s engagement worldwide. In 2020, the German missions abroad spent a total of roughly half a million euro on microprojects designed to help those in need on the ground. Beyond this, the Federal Foreign Office used another 40 million euro from stabilisation funds to procure protective equipment, test kits and medical equipment for people in over 20 countries. Furthermore, the Federal Foreign Office is making available humanitarian assistance worldwide to tackle the pandemic and its consequences – providing an additional 450 million euro in 2020.