Accompanying refugees and internally displaced during COVID-19
16 April 2020

JRS staff and volunteers engaged in distributing hygiene kits and awareness calendars.

Herat, April 16, 2020: The first confirmed case of COVID-19 pandemic in Herat was reported on Feb 24, 2020. The Department of Public Health has announced only 317 confirmed cases in Herat as on April 16. Compared to the number of returnees from Iran (2,000 to 15,000 daily) the number of cases is disproportionate, indicating the lack of test-kits and of crisis management measures by the government to contain the spread of the virus within Herat and other provinces. Much of the government assistance does not reach the people in need. Hence, the role of civil societies and NGOs is crucial to ensure timely response and support to already vulnerable communities.

In Herat, JRS along with its local partners (SOACS, MSO and HPVO) distributed 3,500 hygiene and informational kits to school students in Herat city and districts of Injil, Guzara, Karokh, KoshkeRobatSangi and Zendejan. 5,000 calendars (Afghan new year begins on March 20) with health messages motivates people to stay safe and healthy. Two vehicles are engaged in a mobile Awareness Campaign in remote Herat province districts.

JRS donated 150 PPE kits to the Herat Public Health Directorate for health workers in the COVID-19 ward. Herat Public Health Directorate expressed their appreciation for the timely assistance and posted a note of gratitude on their social media post.

A database has been developed with details of 300 families in need, identified by 50 JRS/partner volunteers. Widows and daily wage laborers, without work due to daily curfews and movement restrictions, are specially vulnerable. The volunteers contribute themselves to the provision and distribution of food-rations and collect donations in cash/kind from local businessmen/traders. The Herat team welcomes national and international support urgently needed to provide food rations, PPE and test kits.

Press Contact Information
Jovin George
+91 11 4310 4661; +91 11 4953 4106