Emergency Response to COVID-19: How UMR is Responding
Washington (April 14, 2020) By Nagwa Abdallah
The drastic impact of COVID-19 goes beyond many countries’ capabilities as the world faces more risks and challenges that threaten all nations. This epidemic has had a heavy toll on human lives. So far, there are almost 2 million identified COVID-19 cases and over 120,000 deaths worldwide. Moreover, the rapid global spread of this virus disproportionately affects millions of people who were already suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition. The epidemic has also taken its toll on the world economy, which according to Oxfam, could push half billion people into poverty.
Given such a catastrophic situation, United Mission for Relief and Development (UMR) has immediately stepped in to elevate the severe impact of the epidemic. UMR has already responded to the crisis on domestic and international levels, and will continue to bring aid to those most at risk.
In partnership with Minder, UMR raised over $100,000 for food distributions and cash assistance towards helping families in need. In the United States, which has more than 580,000 COVID-19 cases and over 23,000 deaths, UMR responded to the coronavirus crisis by joining efforts with the YMCA in Virginia to distribute food packages. UMR provided food packages to 45 families who are financially struggling due to the economic consequences of the epidemic. UMR plans to continue distributing food packages every week at other locations to help Americans who lost their jobs due to the crisis and may be finding it difficult to feed their families. So far, 16 million Americans have lost their jobs and are struggling to put food on their tables. In addition, UMR also launched the “I Am Your Neighbor” initiative to guide volunteers step-by-step on how to safely help their community during this crisis.
On the international level, UMR has been working to help vulnerable people and refugees in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia for years. This existing presence allowed UMR to act quickly and utilize its partnerships with government authorities to provide the best emergency response strategy to help the most vulnerable groups affected by coronavirus.
As of March 2020, Jordan has 1.3 million Syrian refugees, in which only 750,000 of them are registered with UNHCR Jordan. Most Syrian refugees reside in urban areas, as well as refugee camps and live under the poverty line. Additionally, the majority of vulnerable Jordanians work in informal businesses and have no social safety nets. The curfew imposed by the government as a result of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, which reached 500 cases and seven deaths this week, has disrupted the formal and informal labor market. Promptly, UMR started implementing a road map to ease the suffering of people in need in Jordan.
UMR applied comprehensive planning to develop emergency operations. In partnership with Helen Foundation and in cooperation with the Irbid Governor and Al Mazar Municipality, UMR distributed emergency food aid and cash vouchers to 2,000 families. These beneficiaries were mainly Jordanians and Syrian refugees in Irbid, Al Mazar, Johfiyeh in North Jordan, Swaileh and Marka in Amman, and Aghwar-Kraimeh in Jordan Valley. UMR is the first international nonprofit organization that managed to access Northern Jordan and distribute direct aid to vulnerable families and one of the first organizations that assisted Syrian refugees in urban settings during the Coronavirus outbreak.
UMR spares no effort to continue its emergency response domestically and internationally. President and CEO of UMR, Dr. Abed Ayoub says, “UMR’s field teams have been working day and night to bring immediate relief to some of the hardest-hit communities around the world. They found creative ways to reach people who cannot access essential items like food and medicine during these difficult times. Prices have surged around the world for simple, everyday necessities. Families cannot afford to pay their rent or provide for their children. I assure you that we are working tirelessly to serve our community both here in the United States and abroad.”
With such determination and persistence, UMR not only keeps marching forward to help the fragile communities in such a difficult time, but it joins the international and domestic efforts to combat Coronavirus and save more lives. Please join our efforts.
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