COVID-19 in Lebanon and Palestine: Anera Response Log
We will update this log regularly to provide an ongoing report back to donors on the ways Anera is responding during this COVID-19 crisis. We will also be providing occasional updates about conditions on the ground and our staff. Please visit and share this page often! We are also creating Arabic-language COVID-19 health materials addressing common questions about the virus. Please feel free to share these resources and come back to check for updates.
April 6, 2020 | Share This Film!
April 5, 2020 | Disinfectants Delivered in Gaza
April 3, 2020 | In Case you Missed Them
We have two new posts from colleagues in Lebanon and Gaza describing what they are witnessing in their communities in this COVID-19 era.
“Is Gaza Unlivable?” is from Rania Elhilou, our Palestine communications manager. “For a while, as the coronavirus spread around the globe, we hoped that being cut off from the world might just protect us. Maybe we’d actually be grateful for the isolation for once! But the inevitable has happened. As of this writing, we have 12 cases of COVID-19 reported. It’s frightening to imagine how quickly the disease could spread in Gaza as one of the most densely populated places on earth with eight refugee camps. ” Read the full post.
“An Update From North Lebanon” is from Ahlan Chalabi, our area manager for North Lebanon. “Lebanon has been in a crisis since October. Since coronavirus arrived here, things are even harder. The situation is really heavy. Day workers and the vulnerable are suffering the most. But difficult circumstances also bring out people doing good work. We’re seeing a lot of solidarity and resilience. ” Read the full post.
Also, please visit our new COVID-19 health education resources page. We will be adding new materials to it regularly. All materials are in Arabic.
April 2, 2020 | Update From Lebanon
With funding from UNICEF, Anera launched pilot online classes today in Lebanon, using Google Class as a platform. We distributed tablets to 110 students and laptops to the nine participating teachers. We also trained the teachers in how to use the equipment and online platform. For some students, Anera financed an upgrade to their home wifi, so they have reliable connectivity. We chose students who have attended earlier classes, so we know their level. Our vetted and trusted partners are working closely with us on this.
Anera will also soon be working with Arizona State University, a leader in online education, on providing English classes in Lebanon. We piloted an English program with them in the past and it was very successful. ASU will provide the classes without charge!
April 1, 2020 | Update From Gaza
For the past couple days, Anera’s medical donation team has been distributing a large shipment of donated medicines from Direct Relief. The medicines are going to Shifa Hospital as well as to another 13 hospitals and clinics. It contains medicines that treat hypertension and diabetes as well as antibiotics.
Our team also delivered to Shifa Hospital two medicines that we procured locally using funds from the Ray of Light Foundation.
There are 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gaza. All are under quarantine in the same facility.
March 31, 2020 | Update From Lebanon
A large shipment of COVID-19 related items, such as masks and gloves (see March 27 entry below for details), arrived in the Beirut port today. We will distribute the contents to the Lebanese Red Cross over the next couple days.
Anera has set up a communications tree on WhatsApp that reaches more than 100,000 people, at last count. Through this network, we share graphics with messages about the coronavirus and how to stay healthy. We monitor this activity by occasionally choosing 50 people at random and surveying them about what is working and what they need. Recently, for instance, we have been hearing that people would like to know more about coping with stress while being stuck at home.
The Anera team in the Bekaa Valley put together packages of essential materials for the prevention of the COVID-19 (containing alcohol, hand sanitizer, latex gloves and thermometers) and distributed them to the municipalities of Temnin El Foka, Temnin El Tahta, Mansoura, Qsranaba, Bednayel and Majdal Anjar. “Strengthening the role of municipalities in this crisis must be one of Anera’s main responsibilities as they are the local authorities concerned with the health of their residents,” says Lama Ghassan, Anera program manager.
We are supporting our local partner, Soufra, in helping the elderly of Burj El Barajneh. The excellent chefs of Soufra are cooking 100 meals a day and 25 youths who participated in Anera’s cooking classes are volunteering to deliver the food to the homes of elderly residents, while keeping 1.5 meters away from each other.
March 28, 2020 | Video Appeal
Anera’s very own Serene A. Dardari has a message from Lebanon about the COVID-19 pandemic, its effect on the thousands of Syrian and Palestinian refugees who live in crowded camps and what YOU can do to help.
March 27, 2020 | Expected Shipments
Anera’s medical donations team is working full out. They are in constant communication with each other, local partners in Lebanon and Palestine, and donors of medicines and health care supplies.
The team has 11 shipments in process for Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Some are booked to ship and others are in the approval stage. In Palestine, critical medicines are arriving now that will help to alleviate an overstretched health care system just as COVID-19 cases grow. Anera is also putting together COVID-19 relief shipments for delivery there soon.
There are two air shipments arriving in Lebanon in the next couple days with these supplies related to COVID-19:
- N95 particulate respirators: 600 units
- N95 respirator face masks: 3,750 individual masks
- Hand sanitizing wipes: 28,800 individual wipes
- Adtemp II thermometers: 824 units
- Adtemp V digital thermometers: 47 units
- Surgical masks: 50,000 individual units
- Shoe covers: 7,240 units
- Gowns: 2,800 units
- Exam gloves: 23,050 units
- Operating caps: 2,000 units
- Hand soap: 960 units
- Disposable full face shields: 25 units
- Hand sanitizer
- Portable Oxygen Concentrators: 5 units
During this era of social distancing, Anera has changed our usual mode of distribution. Instead of delivering donated medicines and supplies to health facilities we are now asking our recipients to pick up their supplies outside Anera’s distribution centers.
Ahmad Al Najjar, our in-kind program coordinator in Gaza, reported that he is happiest when he is at Anera’s distribution center in Gaza City responding directly to the crises in his community, even this latest one that calls for social distancing.
March 25, 2020 | New Cases in Gaza
Authorities have reported there are another seven cases of COVID-19 in Gaza.
March 23, 2020 | Update From Gaza
Gaza has suffered 14 years of blockade. The economic situation is dire, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and the health care system is overstretched. There is a chronic shortage of essential medicines and health care supplies. Hospitals are not well prepared to respond to normal medical emergencies, let alone a pandemic like COVID-19.
Anera’s Gaza staff is working to procure locally and internationally the medical aid needed to hold the coronavirus at bay. We may have to purchase medicines and supplies on the local market, as donations of these items are in high demand globally. Funds for procurement, shipping and distribution will make a big difference in saving lives and slowing down the spread.
Anera is also continuing to supply safe water to hospitals, health clinics and households. We recently completed installation of a desalination system at one of Gaza’s largest hospitals as well as a child and family nutrition center. These modern, efficient systems turn Gaza’s contaminated groundwater into clean water for drinking and use in treating patients.
March 19, 2020 | How Anera is Reponding
In order to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting the virus, Anera staff across all regions (except Gaza for now) are now working remotely. There are some situations when staff must visit work sites or interact with each other. In these limited cases, they practice social-distancing protocols and follow standard COVID-19 hygiene guidance.
Anera is continuing our work, while adjusting to the changing circumstances brought on by the coronavirus. Here are a few updates from our programs:
- Transitioning our UNICEF-funded basic literacy and math, English language, and financial literacy courses to an online system. We are piloting the approach in several regions around Lebanon. All students will receive a tablet, since they have few resources of their own. Anera will test the effectiveness of communication, given poor internet connectivity in Lebanon, and the quality of learning and sharing. (Learn more about what we are doing in Lebanon.)
- Shipping supplies to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. One shipment of N95 respirator face masks, sanitizing items and portable oxygen devices will go to the Lebanese Red Cross to help them safely transfer patients with COVID-19 to hospitals. The other will go to Rafik Hariri Government Hospital, which is the main facility treating coronavirus patients. We also will procure locally more items to help Lebanon’s overstretched health care system prepare for COVID-19.
- Sending medicines and supplies to Palestine. Seven shipping containers are either on their way or about to ship. Three are heading to Gaza and four to the West Bank. They are full of medicines that treat conditions like diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease. They also contain vitamins and health care supplies such as syringes and surgical gloves.
- Delivering hygiene supplies to communities. We are working on three containers full of hygiene and baby care kits, school supplies, and blankets for delivery in disadvantaged communities across Lebanon. We also will procure locally hygiene and disinfection supplies to deliver to municipalities and individuals.
- Spreading messages for staying healthy. In Lebanon, Anera will be sharing daily videos and simple written instructions, through social channels and WhatsApp, that promote helpful guidance on topics like properly sanitizing items, hand washing, social distancing and exercising at home. In Gaza, we are airing radio spots on local stations promoting handwashing and other hygiene advice.
On Friday, April 3, Anera joined 13 other humanitarian organizations in urging the State Department and USAID to resume funding for humanitarian and development programs in the West Bank and Gaza to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other…
A UN report published in 2012 announced that Gaza would be unlivable by 2020. The predictions were about an alarming humanitarian crisis on a small strip of land. Here we are in 2020 and we’re grappling with a global pandemic! …
In this solidarity we see hope By Ahlam Chalabi Ahlam is Anera’s area manager for North Lebanon. Lebanon has been in a crisis since October. Since coronavirus arrived here, things are even harder. The situation is really heavy. Day workers…