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Coronavirus around the world: Asia



  • May 24, 2020
Sam Campbell
Sam Campbell

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Note: This is the final blog in a four-part series about how the coronavirus is affecting people around the globe. You can read about the effects of the pandemic in Africa here, Latin America here, and the Middle East here.

The coronavirus seems to have infected every corner of the world. From remote villages in Africa to the cities of Brazil, you’ve read how this pandemic has impacted so many people already living in poverty.

Children in Iraq are starving. More than 80 percent of Zimbabweans are out of work. And families in Honduras have resorted to scouring through the dumps to find any scrap they can.

As the final entry in this four-part series, it’s now time to take a look at where it all began — Asia. The coronavirus has ravaged many of its countries, and impoverished people continue to feel its impact.

Here’s how several Asian countries have been affected by the fallout of COVID-19:

China

89,907 confirmed coronavirus cases, 4,723 deaths

The coronavirus outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, back in December. Images of crowded hospitals and people wearing masks soon flooded the media. By January 23, Wuhan went under lockdown, and the rest of the country soon followed. Businesses shut down. Schools closed. Transportation ceased.

The Chinese government continued to step up restrictions. At one point, health officials went door to door to conduct checkups and place sick people into isolation. But after 11 weeks, the lockdown was lifted April 8.

Life seemed to be returning to a somewhat normal state … until mid-May. Multiple people tested positive for the coronavirus in two major cities: Shulan and Wuhan. Strangely enough, these two cities are hundreds of miles apart. But they’re now both under lockdown again until the end of May.

The coronavirus has already devastated the country of China, and many people fear a second wave is on its way.

These families have endured this deadly pandemic since January. But you can help provide lifesaving aid like food, medical care, hygiene items, and more right now for people in urgent need worldwide.

India

3,621,245 confirmed coronavirus cases, 64,469 deaths

With a massive population of 1.3 billion people, India has struggled to enforce social distancing among the people. In an attempt to control the spread of the virus, the government instituted one of the world’s largest and strictest lockdown. Ahmedabad — the largest city in western India — closed all shops except the ones offering milk and medicine.

Although the country’s officials are trying to keep people safe and healthy, the task is much harder when it comes to the slums. More than 65 million people live in these dirty, overcrowded areas, so there’s no space for social distancing. And clean water is almost nonexistent.

These impoverished families have no way to wash their hands or keep their bodies clean. And since the lockdown began, they’ve struggled more than ever to find food. Poor hygiene and weak immune systems make these people extremely susceptible to the coronavirus.

At the beginning of May, India saw a climb in coronavirus cases and deaths. But there’s also been a steady increase in violence throughout the country. The lockdown closed businesses and stopped transportation, and migrant workers are now desperate to get back to their families.

“We asked them to have some patience and to return to their homes because of the lockdown,” one inspector at the Ichhapore police station said, “but they refused, and started throwing stones at us.” Protests like this one have popped up across the country over the past few weeks.

The complete lockdown ended May 15, but countless people are still out of work. At the beginning of this month, India’s unemployment rate was at a record 27.1 percent, leaving people like Reena out of options.

Your gift today will help provide essentials like hygiene items for people in slums around the world and food for out-of-work families whose lives have been turned upside down.​

Thailand

3,412 confirmed coronavirus cases, 58 deaths

“The [slum] community struggles financially as it is,” a local community leader told our Thailand partner, “and now with COVID-19 and not being able to work or go out or leave the city because of lockdowns, it has gotten even worse.”

The coronavirus has made life harder for people already living in poverty throughout Thailand. Many of them were earning only a meager daily wage before businesses, markets, and transportation shut down March 26. Now, the economic fallout from the coronavirus has forced some to live on the streets, sleep in alleyways, and sell their few remaining possessions.

Food kitchens and social services are also limited right now, so these people struggle to have regular meals every day. Our partners have been going into the slums every day to provide boxed lunches for families along with masks, other aid, and educational materials for kids who are currently out of school. But they need YOUR help in order to continue.

They have also been reaching out to young women who worked in Thailand’s infamous red-light districts before the coronavirus shut them down. While it’s certainly a blessing that the bars are empty and these girls aren’t selling their bodies night after night, it also means these girls now have no income. They can’t provide for their families back home. So, our partners have been helping to meet their needs while also making connections and showing them they have other options once this pandemic is over.

Thailand’s state of emergency has been extended until May 31, but the effects of this pandemic will no doubt be felt longer after the restrictions have been lifted.

Nepal

39,460 confirmed coronavirus cases, 228 deaths

Nepal has had a relatively small number of coronavirus cases, but the economy has drastically suffered from the lockdown measures required to keep those numbers low.

According to a recent Reuters report, “The coronavirus epidemic has not only put Nepal’s people and economy in lockdown for a month, but also stopped the slow and desperately needed reconstruction of homes and other buildings devastated by two huge earthquakes in 2015.”

Those earthquakes killed 9,000 people and left hundreds of thousands more homeless. Entire towns fell to rubble. And to this day, many people still live in temporary shelters.

Approximately 25 percent of the people of Nepal live in poverty. They can’t afford to rebuild quickly. Five years later, they were still trying to piece their lives back together … then the coronavirus swept through Nepal.

The nation went under lockdown March 24, and everything stopped. Construction ended. People couldn’t work. The small progress they had made came to a halt.

The lockdown has now lifted in Nepal, but no one is able to cross its borders. This causes a problem for many workers.

“A lot of people who live in Nepal work outside of the country,” our Nepal partner said. “[Approximately] 1.4 million people work in different countries.”

That means over one million people are still without jobs. They still can’t provide for their families. They’re still starving. Still without medical care.

Right now, you can help rescue out-of-work families like those in Nepal. You can help supply families like those living in the slums of India with hygiene kits. And when you give coronavirus relief, you’ll help provide impoverished families around the world with essentials like food, clean water, medical care, and more.

Plus, your gift will DOUBLE thanks to a $235,000 matching gift from World Help Board members. That means every $8 will now help rescue TWO people!

Your doubled gift will also help erase World Help’s budget shortfall caused by canceled fundraising events. You’ll make sure our vital global programs can keep running so people in developing countries continue to receive the critical supplies they need.

It will likely take years for the impoverished families in Asia and other areas of the world to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. But you can give them a head start. You can help these families rebuild their lives by providing lifesaving aid today.

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