Jun 29, 2021

Update: Supporting Communities Throughout India

Dear Friend,

As you likely know, India was hit by a rapid and deadly second wave of COVID-19 infections. Health and critical care facilities were overwhelmed, leaving people without the medical care that they so urgently need. Cases continue to surge at unprecedented rates. On May 1, India recorded the highest ever daily count of new cases, in any country at any stage of this global pandemic, exceeding 400,000 new cases.

With time, the virus is mutating, and different variants are breaking out, affecting more young people and children in the second wave. Given the exponential rise in the COVID-19 caseload that India grappled with, health facilities were faced with the dire risk of not having an adequate supply of oxygen for their patients. This life-saving gas helps patients breathe when they cannot do so on their own – whether it be children with pneumonia or hypoxemia, newborns and mothers with birth complications, or patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, every year 4.2 million children in low and middle-income countries urgently needed medical oxygen to survive.

Thanks to your continued commitment to ending the pandemic, UNICEF has been working tirelessly throughout to help tackle the devastating impact that the virus itself has had, as well as the impact that measures taken to control the virus have had on India’s children and their families. Most recently, this response includes support to the COVID-19 vaccines rollout. As India and other countries around the world face this rapidly worsening ‘second wave,’ UNICEF continues to support governments, WHO and other partners to tackle this fresh crisis and the further impacts it will have on children and families. Your support ensured that UNICEF India was able to achieve the following outcomes over the past several months:

  • Increasing access to life-saving oxygen: Oxygen therapy is a critical treatment for patients who are experiencing moderate and severe/critical COVID-19 symptoms. However, just one critically ill COVID-19 patient requires between 25,000-80,000 liters of pressurized oxygen per day for approximately five days. Your support allowed UNICEF to invest in the establishment of 40 new Oxygen Generation plants that can provide enough oxygen for 500 hospital beds as well as 3,000 portable oxygen concentrators to support ill patients.
  • Boosting testing capacity: Rapid, accurate testing is an essential tool in the fight against COVID-19. However, growing delays in the processing of “gold standard” RT-PCR tests are jeopardizing timely diagnosis and treatment. With your support, UNICEF helped boost test processing capacity in some of the worst affected districts.

As the pandemic continues to effect communities around the world, your generous financial support will enable UNICEF to swiftly procure the supplies needed to diagnose, treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Beyond this current crisis, your investment will leave a lasting legacy that will strengthen India’s health system over the coming 10+ years, improving diagnosis and access to life-saving oxygen that will benefit countless numbers of children and their families. Thank you for continuing to stand with UNICEF as we continue the fight to end the pandemic.

In Partnership,

Whitney

Jun 1, 2021

Update: Supporting Communities Throughout India

Dear Friend,

In January and February 2021, a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, India appeared to be recovering from the first wave of cases in 2020. However, since March there has been a significant resurgence in the number of cases. By April, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic had hit India hard, straining the country’s healthcare systems to a breaking point. In the peak of this second wave, four new cases were recorded every second and more than two deaths every minute.In addition, the country’s COVID-19 response is further challenged by climate emergencies. About 24 million children are impacted by floods, drought, cyclones, and other hazards that exacerbate underlying vulnerabilities on a recurrent basis in India.

With your generous support, UNICEF is leading preparedness and response efforts to address the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19, natural disasters, and civil strife, targeting the most vulnerable, including people in slums and migrant families. Your generosity has ensured UNICEF is positioned to protect children and their families from exposure to COVID-19, to minimize the impacts of public health measures, address the socioeconomic consequences, and maintain access and provision of basic social services in the following ways:

  • Reduce COVID-19 transmission and mortality by strengthening risk communication and community engagement interventions to reach communities with lifesaving information and community-led approaches that promote healthy and safe lifestyles, tackle misinformation around COVID-19 and increase adoption of vaccines, treatment and tests.
  • Improve infection prevention and control through the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene services and supplies for people in highly vulnerable rural and urban communities, in health facilities, schools, pre-schools, quarantine centers, immunization centers.
  • Ensure continuity and sustained access to basic health services for children and their families through support for facilities such as health clinics and schools and by building upon the capacity of frontline workers.
  • Respond to the impact and consequences of natural disasters and civil strife through bolstering resilience to predictable hazards by enhancing child-centered disaster risk management systems and risk-informed programming.

Thank you for continuing to stand along UNICEF to support communities impacted by humanitarian disasters around the world to make this work possible. With your help, UNICEF has been able to reach crisis-affected and vulnerable children and adolescents in India with lifesaving assistance and services. By contributing to this work, you are providing critical support to UNICEF, increasing its ability to strengthen essential systems during the pandemic and ensure access to lifesaving services for vulnerable populations.

In Partnership,

Whitney

Links:

May 10, 2021

Update: Ensuring the Safety of Child Migrants

Children playing at the shelter for migrants
Children playing at the shelter for migrants

Dear Friend,

This year in Latin America has been marked by the intensification of migratory movements, despite the COVID-19 preventative measures. In fact, since the start of 2021, the number of migrant children reported in Mexico has increased sharply from 380 to nearly 3,500 as of April 2021. Many of these children, originating from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico, are either waiting to enter into the USA, or have been returned.

In April 2021, Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, took a five-day visit to Mexico, including stops along its northern border with the United States. “I was heartbroken to see the suffering of so many young children, including babies, at the Mexican border with the U.S.,” said Gough. “Most of the shelter facilities I visited in Mexico are already overcrowded and cannot accommodate the increasing number of children and families migrating northward. We are deeply concerned that living conditions for migrant children and mothers in Mexico could soon deteriorate further.”

In many Mexican shelters, children represent at least 30 percent of the migrant population. Half of them have traveled without their parents, which is one of the highest proportions ever recorded in Mexico. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increased number of unaccompanied migrant children, as well as the arrival of entire families with children, has put significant strain on the overstretched Mexican assistance centers. 

It is important to note that Central American families aren’t migrating, they are fleeing gang criminality, poverty, job loss due to the pandemic, a lack of education and even the most basic health care. In addition, in November 2020, in one of the most destructive disasters to hit the region, Hurricane Eta made landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm. Just two weeks later, Hurricane Iota, a Category 5 storm, followed a similar path. Over 10 million people in Central America, among them four million children, were affected by life-threatening flash flooding, river flooding and landslides. As a result of the destructive storms, the economic situation has further deteriorated, leading to an increase in migration.

As a result of your support, UNICEF has been scaling up its humanitarian response across Central America and Mexico in the past months, with increased presence at the Mexico-U.S. border. In the first three months of this year, over 2,100 migrant children have already received humanitarian assistance from UNICEF at Mexico’s southern and northern borders. With the current funding, a total of 10,000 children on the move and their parents will be reached this year. UNICEF and partners are providing shelter and safe spaces for mothers and children to access care, including maternal and newborn health, as well as conducting family tracing and reunification.

Your generosity also ensures UNICEF and partners are able to tackle some of the root causes of migration. From providing alternative education, counseling and psychosocial support for vulnerable young people, to establishing new child protection offices and scaling-up cash transfers and other social protections for families in need. 

But humanitarian needs are on the rise and are expected to remain high in the coming months. UNICEF estimates that about 150,000 children on the move and families affected by violence in their places of origin across Mexico will require emergency and development assistance in the next two years.

With your support, UNICEF will continue to support Central American children and their families, both inside their countries of origin and across borders.

In partnership,

Whitney

 
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