COVID-19 Relief Action Report
The outbreak of the new coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020. The pandemic that evolves rapidly has driven countries to take serious actions to prevent the virus from spreading. In response to the crisis, Tzu Chi volunteers from around the world have also taken precautionary measures against the pandemic. A pandemic coordination centre is also set up by Tzu Chi in Hualien to coordinate information gathered from around the world every day. This is to facilitate the dispatch of pandemic relief resources and implement various relief programs to assist affected groups. The following progress reports are published on the official website of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in English. Click on the following links to read the original texts to learn more about Tzu Chi’s effort in providing relief amid a pandemic.
- COVID-19 Relief Action: Report #1: Overview of Actions taken by Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF)
- COVID-19 Relief Action Report #1: Activities as of 16th April, 2020
- South Africa, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #1: Activities from March 11 to May 4, 2020
- Mozambique | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #2: Activities from March 21 to May 4, 2020
- Philippines | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #1: Activities as of 13th April, 2020
- Philippines | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #2: Activities from 14th to 28th April, 2020
- Indonesia | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #3: Activities as of 29 April, 2020
- COVID-19 Relief Action Report #4: Activities as of 12 May, 2020
|COVID-19 Relief Action: Report #1: Overview of Actions taken by Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF)|
Worldwide (BTCF)- Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic relief actions taken by Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) in 29 countries and regions worldwide as of 20 April, 2020.
As COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world, many of our most vulnerable communities, including jobless, elderly, undocumented, refugees and more, are faced with food insecurity, loss of income and lack of hygiene and protective equipment. BTCF aims to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on these communities through material and financial aid, food security, hygiene education, and psychosocial support.
BTCF has been established since 1966, by Dharma Master Cheng Yen, with the aspiration to relieve pain and suffering of those in need. Now an international non-profit humanitarian organization, BTCF chapters work alongside local, national and international partners to understand and support the needs of individual communities.
During the pandemic, BTCF is providing short term supplies and financial aid for COVID-19 affected communities in lockdown, hygiene education and donation of medical supplies and PPE to front-line responders and medical professionals. More than 9 million sets of medical packs including masks, PPE, sanitizers, gloves, surgical coverings have been distributed. More supplies and PPE are also in transit for the following 48 countries/regions: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Laos, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, North Korea, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Sierra Leone, Senegal, Spain, South Sudan, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Zambia.
As lockdowns are lifted, BTCF plans to provide mid-term to long-term support for various communities affected by COVID-19 by working with both local and international partners.
For more information, please visit: www.tzuchi.us
|COVID-19 Relief Action Report #1: Activities as of 16th April, 2020|
Worldwide (BTCF)- The following report summarizes cloth masks made by Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) worldwide in effort to combat COVID-19 as of April 16.
As COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly worldwide, with 1,991,562 confirmed cases and 130,885 deaths as of April 16, there is increasing pressure on the public to access face masks. BTCF chapters worldwide initiated to make cloth masks for vulnerable communities.
|South Africa, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #1: Activities from March 11 to May 4, 2020|
The following report summarizes the relief actions of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) in response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the African Region including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Eswatini, and Sierra Leone.
Since the first case of COVID-19 in African region (reported in Algeria on February 25), there are now more than 50 countries in Africa that are affected with a total number of 31,460 cumulative cases and 1,106 reported deaths as of May 4. Since its first confirmed case on March 7, South Africa became the most affected country in African region with 7,220 cases, followed by Algeria with 4,648 cases, and Nigeria with 2,802 cases, as of May 4.
With its continuous and active presence in the African region since 1992, BTCF is able to deliver its aid to those who are in need in a timely manner. BTCF also continuously raises awareness and provides trustworthy information related to the COVID-19 prevention such as good hygiene practices and other preventive measures to the communities that it services.
South Africa, Eswatini, Zimbabwe
As of May 4, there are 7,220, 116, and 34 confirmed cases in South Africa, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe, respectively. On March 11, March 23, and April 1, BTCF donated a total number of 16,000 surgical masks to South Africa, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe, respectively, to fulfil the urgent needs of protection of the essential workers including police officers and healthcare workers.
As of May 4, 178 cases have been accumulated in Sierra Leone with 9 deaths reported and 37 recoveries. On April 24, in collaboration with Caritas Freetown, Healey International Relief Foundation, and Lanyi Foundation, BTCF donated 8,000 bags of rice (10kg/bag), or 800 tons, to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education of Sierra Leone in support of the School Feeding Program which aims to enhance the enrollment of students through the provision of free meals. However, due to the COVID-19 situation in Sierra Leone which has led to the country lockdown, the rice is distributed to the students directly as take home ration. The rice is distributed to 8,000 students across the country including Bombali, Karene, Kambia, Kono, Kailahun, and Kenema.
On April 29, BTCF donated another 1,600 bags or rice (10kg/bag), or 160 tons, to the Ministry of Social Welfare of Sierra Leone to support the needs of the vulnerable Muslims and Christian communities scattered in different districts of the country.
On May 2, on behalf of BTCF, Healey International Relief Foundation, and Lanyi Foundation, Caritas Freetown delivered hospital beds, surgical masks, and gloves to the government of Sierra Leone to support the effort of combating the spread of the disease in the country. The items are allocated in the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) of Freetown, Sierra Leone, as part of the preparation for the influx of COVID-19 patients.
Recognizing the importance of food security and basic preventative measures by individuals and communities throughout this pandemic, BTCF will continue to examine, identify, and address the needs of the vulnerable and needy population across its countries of services in the region with the collaboration with local and international partners.
|Mozambique | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #2: Activities from March 21 to May 4, 2020|
The following report summarizes the relief actions of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) in response to COVID-19 in Mozambique.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged in African region on February 25 and was spread to Mozambique on March 22. As of May 18, Mozambique has accumulated 137 confirmed cases with 0 death and 44 recoveries reported.
Recognizing the urgent need of personal protective equipment (PPE) and food resources, BTCF has delivered its aid to various institutions and communities through the donations and distribution of food items and non-food items including rice, surgical masks, non-surgical masks, cloth masks, and soap.
Summary of Actions from March 21 to May 4
1. Total Number of Food and Non-Food Items Donated
BTCF has donated food and non-food items to various institutions including hospitals, clinics, military forces, government offices, television stations (for frontline reporters), police stations, public transportation companies, schools, and vulnerable communities.
2. Beneficiaries of the donations
Additionally, in collaboration with the government officials and authorized agencies, BTCF has carried out community outreach in the remote and rural communities to provide correct and latest information of the preventive measures to fight COVID-19. Volunteers of BTCF have participated and completed the professional healthcare training led by the Ministry of Health in Mozambique and were authorized to visit the communities to teach about handwashing, social distancing, personal hygiene care, and other critical prevention methods.
To ensure basic protection of the community without affecting the supplies of surgical masks to the frontline workers, BTCF gathered its volunteers to produce the cloth masks for volunteers and the rest of the communities.
Despite the stable increase of confirmed cases in African region, BTCF will continue its effort in reaching out to those that are most needy, marginalized, and vulnerable, to ensure they have enough resources to get through the crisis together.
|Philippines | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #1: Activities as of 13th April, 2020|
Philippines (BTCF)- The following report summarizes Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) relief actions in the Philippines as of April 13.
Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout the Philippines with a total of 5,223 confirmed cases and 335 deaths, many regions initiated lockdown protocols from suspension of mass public transportation, restricted local and international travel to imposed home quarantine. Hospitals are also faced with depleting personal protective equipment and garments (PPE) as the pandemic continues to increase demand.
From 5 to 13 April, BTCF, in partnership with the local government, provided rice to over 18,000 households and donated over 68,800 PPEs to local hospitals, in the hope of ensuring the safety of front-line health professionals and keeping vulnerable communities safe and healthy through the pandemic.
|Philippines | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #2: Activities from 14th to 28th April, 2020|
Philippines (BTCF)- The following report summarizes Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) relief actions in the Philippines from 14 to 28 April.
On April 15, there were a total of 5,223 confirmed cases and 335 deaths of COVID-19 in the Philippines, forcing regions to initiate and/or prolong their lockdown protocols. These lockdowns are acutely felt by our vulnerable communities as they struggled with job uncertainty and food insecurity. Local businesses closed down with some families losing income. Precarious housing situations had also affected residents’ ability to adhere to social distancing and hygiene recommendations, causing health issues, stress and anxiety.
Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) Philippines has been continuously supporting local vulnerable communities in Manila, Ormoc, Tacloban, Bohol Island and more. Having formed good relationships with these communities over the years, BTCF quickly initiated a COVID-19 rice distribution programme with aims to provide short-term food relief, personal hygiene education and emotional support. BTCF also worked with hospitals to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnels and, in partnership with a local Catholic church, supported hospital staff with temporary accommodations.
Summary of Actions Taken From 14 to 28 April
Fire relief distribution in Delpan Street and Happyland
COVID-19 Relief Rice Distribution
Medical Supplies Donation
On April 15 and 18, fires broke out in the low-socioeconomic Manila area of Delpan Street,
Delpan is an area well-known to BTCF Philippines, on April 14, BTCF held a COVID-19 aid distribution in the district. Upon hearing of these fires and learning that the community was severely affected, BTCF sent out a team of local volunteers to visit the shelters and nearby streets, meeting with local officials and residents to ascertain emerging needs. Responding to this unexpected situation, BTCF quickly included another distribution for the residents as part of the fire relief action plan. The distributed aid were adjusted to suit the needs of the community, including: 10kg bag of rice, soy sauce, vinegar, pot, 4 plates, 6 cutlery sets, 4 cups, a sleeping mat, blanket, 2 soaps, 2 face cloths, 1 bag of second-hand clothing (sorted by BTCF volunteers) and 5 cloth masks. A total of 1,040 families, Delpan (309) and Happyland (1,031), received food and necessities packs. Dharma Master Cheng Yen, founder of BTCF, says “It is these vulnerable communities that we need to take care of, the hardest hit families may have already been struggling with daily necessities and food before COVID-19 so we need to support them before the situation becomes dire. If we can do that, we can lift the spirit of community and encourage residents to help each other and work together to build resilience.”
From 14 to 28 April, over 217,000 bags of 25 kgs rice was donated in 19 COVID-19 rice distributions, running in parallel to the fire relief. A total of 581 Tzu Chi volunteers, 205 military personnels, 63 police personnels, 293 local government volunteers and 157 local volunteers assisted with the COVID-19 and fire relief response. BTCF also donated 78,577 pieces of PPE and medical equipment to 30 hospitals to support our front-line medical professionals.
Working with a local Catholic church, a donation of Jing Si Multipurpose folding beds and eco-blankets were used to set-up a temporary dormitory for hospital staff who are not able to go home to their families due to the possibility of spreading COVID-19 to their communities.
Jing Si Multipurpose folding beds, along with the eco-blankets, had been created as an innovative disaster relief solution. It is made from recycled plastics, easy-to-transport and has a storage compartment to store belongings. The eco-blanket is made from PET bottles, has a small carbon footprint to produce and is lightweight. Working with our partners, BTCF was honored to provide a safe and healthy environment for medical personnels to rest.
COVID-19 has changed many aspects of daily living, from food price fluctuations, transport restrictions, healthcare issues to affected infrastructure. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt everyday life for much of the global population, organizations have to work with local governments, partners and make new connections to find the needs of all people. All mankind across faiths, cultures and nationalities must unite together to respond to the call of vulnerable communities.
For more information: www.tzuchi.org.ph/contact-us/
|Indonesia | COVID-19 Relief Action Report #3: Activities as of 29 April, 2020|
Indonesia (BTCF)- The following report summarizes Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) relief actions in Indonesia as of 29 April.
As of 29 April, there have been 10,118 confirmed cases, 792 deaths, and 1,522 recovered cases of COVID-19 across all 34 provinces of Indonesia. With a Muslim-majority population, there were concerns that mass migration home for the celebrations, Eid al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan, would lead to the further spread of COVID-19. Thus on 24 April, the first day of Ramadan, government officials imposed a domestic and international travel ban on all transportation. This led to many residents, dependent on public transportation, unable to complete daily tasks, and many transient workers with no means of returning home.
During these challenging times, many of the front-line workers have been put under immense pressure to keep the population safe. These front-line workers include hospital staff, cemetery workers, and construction builders working on temporary hospitals. BTCF Indonesia has been working in partnership with government entities, hospitals, and other charitable organizations to provide relief.
Summary of Actions as of 29 April
1. Total donated supplies:
2. Supported 844 hospitals and medical clinics in 17 regions, including:
In a big scale pandemic, it is important for non-governmental organizations to work in synergy and share resources to support our broader community. BTCF has been reaching out to partners and the government to offer support and assistance.
Since the end of March, BTCF has been working with the Artha Graha group, along with the Ministry of Health and regional government, to provide COVID-19 tests in Jakarta on Golf Island and set up a temporary medical unit in the Pademangan area. In partnership with Indonesia’s Medical Association, BTCF has made hand sanitizers, along with 5,000 face shields, to be distributed to volunteers, communities, and recycling centers.
Many of our vulnerable communities have been affected by the lockdown, resulting from loss of livelihood. Due to travelling restrictions and stay at home orders, it was difficult for BTCF to continue to provide assistance to the vulnerable families and individuals in our care and even harder, to support emerging communities faced with hardship due to COVID-19.
Working with police and the military, BTCF was able to distribute food packs containing 5kg of rice, 2kg of sugar, 2 bottles of oil, and 6 packs of instant noodles to these families.
Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the founder of BTCF, appeals to all “To mitigate disasters, we must work together. Compassion needs to be expressed, not just through words but through our actions. We must never let love turn into neglect or sincerity into indifference.” It is important for us to remember that the front-line worker includes not only medical professionals but also those still working to keep our communities safe.
With another medical facility, a hospital for COVID-19 patients, being constructed on Galang Island, near the city of Batam, many workers have had difficulty accessing food and water due to the urgency and the location of the hospital construction. BTCF, in partnership with Indonesia Red Cross Foundation, worked together to provide 63,000 dry-packed food, 44,000 packs of coffee, 1,900 bags of tea, and 3 water dispensers.
BTCF, with the Indonesia township association, also worked together to raise funds and procure PPE for front-line workers. Hearing that many cemetery workers are under immense stress, BTCF organized a COVID-19 relief distribution with food, necessities, and PPE supplies. Volunteers also took this opportunity to thank these workers for their courage in these challenging times.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, BTCF has strengthened and built partnerships with the government, charity organizations, and businesses to provide assistance in many areas.
BTCF believes, by coming together, from all industries and levels, we can support, strengthen, and build resilience in our communities.
|COVID-19 Relief Action Report #4: Activities as of 12 May, 2020|
Worldwide (BTCF)- Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic relief actions taken by Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) in 53 countries and regions worldwide as of 12 May, 2020.
As many countries and regions start to gain control of the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, transportation restrictions and curfews have been loosened or lifted. The effects of the lockdown on the global and local economy have been widespread and felt across all industries. While people are slowly returning back to work, it is important to understand that many, especially our vulnerable communities, will be struggling with grief, traumatic experiences, psychosocial stress and loss of income.
Loss of income, especially for daily wage workers, can cause immense hardship on individuals and their families. Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) chapters across the world have initiated mid-term COVID-19 relief action plans, including providing financial aid, material supplies and caring social support to these communities and individuals. BTCF has also been continuing to work locally, nationally, and internationally with communities and organisations to share resources, reach out to various vulnerable communities while being able to understand local and individual needs.
As of 12 May, BTCF has donated 14,466,805 personal protective equipment (PPE) items to hospitals, front-line workers, schools and communities across 6 continents: Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa and North and South America, held numerous food and necessities distributions, and provided financial aid.
BTCF plans to donate a total of 7,440,677 PPE items to another 28 countries and regions and continue with local mid-term relief actions. Dharma Master Cheng Yen, founder of BTCF, calls upon individuals to respond in kind to these challenging times “There are many people in need, so we are blessed if we have the ability to give and to help. Each kind act is a droplet of water or a grain of rice; drops of water can form a river and grains of rice can fill up a basket. If we can bring together our individual deeds of kindness into collective action, we can better support our neighbours and communities, give people hope and make our communities more resilient.”
For more information, please contact: tcit.tzuchi.net/CCISWeb/page/