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A double emergency

Bangladesh and Kenya have been in a state of emergency for years.

The spread of Covid-19 is expanding to countries where measures such as hand washing and social distancing are difficult to maintain. The current health emergency overlaps with enormous humanitarian emergencies in both countries, which have already brought millions of people to their knees. In Bangladesh and Kenya, bringing has become increasingly difficult, that is why we have taken immediate action in collaboration with our local partners.

It is vital for ActionAid to intervene quickly, targeting the communities where help is most urgently needed.

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Read about our intervention on the ground:

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BANGLADESH

The government of Bangladesh recently declared that it is not possible to control the spread of Covid-19. Because of this, the country is now on lockdown: main roads have been closed and the circulation of local public transportation is limited. It is no longer possible to travel except for emergencies.

 In this alarming situtation, ActionAid Bangladesh is working to monitor the conditions of Rohingya refugees in the densely populated refugee camps at Cox's Bazar. There are over 800,000 people suffering in dire hygenic conditions: more than half of the population does not have access to essential supplies such as soap and water. We are also translating and distributing materials to raise awareness about the virus inside the camps thanks to collaboration with local authorities.

ActionAid is also supporting the management of local shelters dedicated to women, who in crisis situations are often at risk of greater violence, during the distribution of food and detergents. Community centers are temporarily closed, but we are in contact with local colleagues who carry out prevention activities and collect information about what families need.

We urgently need to bring concrete and direct help to Bangladesh and to those people at high risk of infection.

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KENYA

In Kenya, the Coronavirus emergency adds to an already extremely threatening situation: during the past months, swarms of locusts have invaded the country devastating crops and leaving children and families without food. The food insecurity is increasing due not only to Covid-19, but also this locust invasion which could cause severe famine. The hygienic-sanitary situation is also extremely precarious as practicing social distancing in slums is almost impossible.

Schools have been closed across the country since mid-March and people are in lockdown. There is also an entry ban for those who come from countries with reported cases of Coronavirus. Our colleagues immediately created a monitoring system in collaboration with our local partners, which, thanks to their proximity to the communities, inform us and collect the requests of the most vulnerable women and families so that we can intervene in targeted areas.

We are distributing toilet kits, and hand washing equipment that includes soap and disinfectants for communities and, in particular, for the women's cooperatives we support. We are also supporting women's committees engaged in building hand sanitization points inside markets.

Finally, we are committed to translating the messages distributed by the government into local languages, in order to ensure that everyone can access essential information for the prevention of infection.