These are difficult times for us all. The country remains in the grip of the Coronavirus, impacting on all our lives and for many of us, income too.
Oxfam are on the front lines of the crisis around the world.
- In Lebanon, Oxfam is distributing soap to 5,000 people
- In Iraq we are providing infection control materials to public health workers
- In Hong Kong we’ve given 110,000 masks to street cleaners and communities in need
- In Italy we are working to support teachers with essential materials
The crisis could get so much worse when the virus takes hold in the world’s poorest countries.
- New research from Imperial College London predicts that, if left unchecked, Coronavirus could have caused up to 40 million deaths around the world
- Health care in some of the poorest countries is already on it’s knees. For example, the Central African Republic has only three ventilators for the entire country, while Kenya has a population of nearly 50 million people yet only has 130 beds in intensive care units.
- The Coronavirus could be catastrophic for economies around the world. Today, Oxfam published new research from experts showing that half a billion more people could be pushed into poverty by Coronavirus
As a first step – we need to cancel the debt for the poorest countries.
The speed at which the pandemic has spread around the world shows that countries cannot defeat the virus on their own, more than ever we need a global response. As a first step – urgent need for debt cancellation for poorest countries. Many of these countries are burdened with huge amounts of debt. This has constrained their governments from being able to free up resources to spend on public health prevention and response. Debt relief could free up $40 billion for these countries to help fight the Coronavirus. Ghana is currently spending 11 times more servicing debts than on public health
Next week, leaders from the richest countries meet to discuss how the world should respond to the crisis, and specifically help the poorest countries deal with its impacts. Cancelling the debt of the world’s poorest countries is already being considered by the G20 – we need to send a message that the world can’t wait.