Ina Eriksen Eines
Posted on 08. Oct 2021
In the spring of 2020, the world stopped. Suddenly we were faced with a crisis of unknown dimensions. No one knew what was going to happen next. The only thing we could guess was that those who were already going through a difficult time would be worse off than ever. Equinor was one of several of our partners who were quick to help us.
Equinor and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) have a long-standing partnership. Over the years, the energy company has made multiple contributions to support our work on behalf of displaced people around the world. When the pandemic hit, it was important to mobilize aid as soon as possible.
In March 2020, NRC therefore launched the fundraising campaign “Solidarity does not stop at our borders”. Equinor mobilized quickly and donated over NOK 4 million (approximately USD 464,000) to our Covid-19 emergency response work.
“When times are tough, it’s always the people with little who struggle the most. In times of crisis, reacting quickly is essential, which is why we appreciate Equinor’s quick donation so much, ”said Sean Nicholson, NRC’s external relations manager.
Such rapid mobilization is of great importance and allows us to quickly bring aid to those who need it most.
The pandemic has had huge consequences around the world, especially for people who already live in the lower echelons of society.According to a report released by the NRC in September 2020, more than three in four displaced people lost income in the first months of the pandemic.
The impact has been catastrophic: more and more people are starving, people are losing their homes and large numbers of children and young people are deprived of a valuable education.
Clean water and health care
Equinor’s donation to the NRC’s Covid-19 emergency response fund has helped thousands of people in Iraq, Cameroon and Djibouti access clean water and healthcare, among others . This help helped prevent the spread of infection, allowing people to protect themselves from an invisible and unpredictable enemy.
Cameroon has been beset by violence and conflict for more than a decade, and thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. It is difficult to protect yourself from an invisible virus when you live in a tent and even lack the essentials.
With the support of Equinor, we distributed hygiene kits to around 2,400 people in Cameroon. At the same time, our employees have been going door to door, providing information and teaching people what to do to protect themselves from the virus.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, millions of people have fled their homes since 2014. Many eventually return, but they return to areas lacking adequate infrastructure.
Among other things, NRC succeeded in renovating three hospitals, providing approximately 50,000 women, men and children with access to health care. This has allowed hospitals to manage the new and significant influx of Covid-19 patients, while being able to help the population with other health services.
There is still a need for help, but things got worse with the pandemic. Many needed help to better protect themselves from the virus. We are incredibly happy to have been able to rehabilitate hospitals and guarantee health care to so many people.
Maithree Abeyrathna, NRC Iraq Program Manager
Djibouti has had to deal with multiple crises: not only droughts and floods, but also swarms of locusts and epidemics of various diseases. The Covid-19 pandemic has put further strain on the country’s health system, making daily life even more difficult for poor families.
As part of our emergency response work during the pandemic, we ensured that approximately 4,000 households had access to safe drinking water. In addition, we have installed washing stations in eight schools and two hospitals. We also distributed hygiene kits and provided extensive training on their use and how to stay safe.
Despite massive efforts around the world, the pandemic is far from over. A number of countries are experiencing a fourth wave of infection and many people remain unvaccinated. The need for help is enormous and more and more
No one knows what long-term effects Covid-19 will have on people, society and the economy. The only thing certain is that many of those who were already struggling are now even worse.
Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund
The NRC is continuously working to provide assistance to displaced people so that they can best protect themselves against infection, while limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
We have extensive experience in crisis management in the most vulnerable areas of the world and we continue our efforts to protect the populations’ water supply and improve sanitation, in addition to distributing soap and hygiene items. .
Refugees and internally displaced people are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and other diseases. Indeed, they are forced to move from one place to another and often live in overcrowded refugee camps with limited access to clean water, good sanitation and health services.
The need for help remains massive, and increased support from businesses and individuals allows us to help more people.
By supporting the fund, you are helping to:
more people receive soap, hygiene items, clean water and better sanitation
more people are given information on how they can protect themselves against the virus and prevent it from spreading
allowing us to maintain other vital aids