The recent dramatic resurgence of COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on communities. Please join us to urgently pray for our partners in South Asia, where new waves of the COVID-19 pandemic are having a disproportionate impact on people living in poverty.
Many of our partners – in places like Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia and India – are reporting that COVID cases are now surging again in the areas where they are working and among their staff and volunteers. Many places have entered severe lockdowns.
One partner wrote to us: “There is a sense of fear and panic in the air. But we have also seen God work and many recoveries. That gives us the confidence to hope that God hears our prayers and He heals.
“Pray for the church, that we would not miss the opportunity to serve and be located among those who grieve.”
Please also pray for the health and energy of our partner staff and for the communities they are working with who are already facing hardship.
News reports in recent weeks have highlighted the terrible situation in India. The country recorded around 360,000 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday 28 April, a new global record. The outbreak has pushed the country's healthcare system to breaking point.
Our friend and fieldworker C.B. Samuel in India has written a detailed list of prayer points.
May 5 2021: Tearfund Australia CEO, Matthew Maury, spoke with Indian Christian leader and longtime Tearfund friend CB Samuel from New Delhi to hear the latest on the situation there.
EFICOR has committed to distribute 100,000 cloth masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including in situations where many people are living together in small spaces.
Many people who had returned to India’s bigger cities are now unable to find work. EFICOR plans to support at least 4,000 migrant workers with one month’s rations to help them meet their immediate needs.
Many families of migrant workers are also facing hardship. Usually, these families rely on income from the one or more members of their family who migrate to big cities to find work and support the family. With many of these migrant workers now unable to work and earn that income, their families in their home villages now face hunger and are struggling to meet everyday expenses. Multiple lockdowns have taken away many alternatives for raising income. By providing meaningful work, EFICOR will give 20 days’ income to these families by working with faith and community leaders in project areas to identify community projects, such as building water storage ponds or improving farmland, that will help to bring longer term sustainable benefits to communities. EFICOR hopes to help 12,000 families through this initiative.
A number of EFICOR’s own staff and their family members have tested positive to coronavirus. Ramesh Babu describes the situation in Delhi:
“…There is a dearth of supply of oxygen cylinders as well as COVID vaccinations in the city. Most of the COVID patients are in home quarantine since beds are not easily available in the hospitals. The second wave of the pandemic is more frightening than the first one, since now even young people are falling prey to the virus.”
He says: “Many of the migrant workers who had gone back to their villages during the last year at the onset of the pandemic had returned to the cities to start afresh and had begun to settle down when this second wave of the pandemic disrupted their lives again. Unable to find work and without money, these families are now struggling to manage their daily needs.
Please uphold us in your prayers as we continue to serve the poor and the needy while remaining safe and healthy in the present situation.
Nepal, which shares a long border with India, is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19. On Wednesday 28 April it reported 4,774 new cases of the virus.
Tearfund’s partner, the Welfare Association for Children Tikapur (WACT), works in an area that borders India. Four of WACT’s staff have recently tested positive to coronavirus, and many staff have been advised to work from home if they can. WACT is limiting its project activities in order to keep people safe. Traditionally, people have travelled freely between Nepal and India, but the main border with India is currently closed.
Many community members who had gone back to India are returning to Nepal due to the worsening situation in India.
WACT asks the Tearfund Australia community to pray for its staff, the communities it works with, and the country of Nepal.
In Ethiopia, which has so far reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases of any country in the East Africa region, Tearfund’s partner, the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission (EKHCDC), has been working on awareness raising in rural and semi-urban areas around Awassa in the south of the country. Tearfund supports EKHCDC’s child literacy program in this region. Various workshops have been held with community leaders, church leaders, school directors, government officials and government office staff to explain basic information about COVID-19, how to protect yourself from it, and what can be done at a community level to prevent the spread of the virus.
For people who have particularly suffered as a result of losing work and daily labouring opportunities, cash support has been made available to 440 selected households.
Health centres, health posts and schools have been provided with personal protective equipment in three districts. EKHCDC has also visited dozens of rural pre-school centres to encourage the uptake of infection prevention measures such as hand-washing with soap, and to meet with groups of mothers to encourage them to spread prevention messages to the wider community.
It’s hoped that nearly 70,000 people will directly benefit from this project.
Related projects have received support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).