22 May 2020
Deployment update: Adapting humanitarian assistance during COVID-19

COVID-19 is increasing the need for humanitarian assistance around the world, particularly as many communities face COVID-19 alongside other crises and disasters.

Kirsten Sayers, CEO of RedR Australia says that with multiple crises happening alongside one another, there has never been a more critical time to help our global community.

“RedR Australia has continued to deploy technical specialists into the Middle East and Africa, Asia, Europe and America, and the Pacific and it currently has 60 people responding to crises globally – including COVID-19, Tropical Cyclone Harold in the Pacific and the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh.”

On behalf of the Australian Government and through the Australia Assists program, RedR Australia is delivering support in the Pacific to assist local communities recover from the devastation left by Tropical Cyclone Harold. 

In Vanuatu alone, more than 100,000 people have been affected - a third of the population. Shelter and infrastructure damage has affected 84 per cent and 50 per cent need assistance with water, sanitation and hygiene.

“Through long-standing relationships, we have been able to support requests for assistance by Governments in the Pacific, so the response to TC Harold has been grounded in ongoing preparedness work,” notes Sayers.

With the logistical challenges COVID-19 has presented, including increased quarantine and travel restrictions facing humanitarian actors, new modalities of working are currently being tested.  

“RedR Australia has pivoted to providing humanitarian support remotely, with a number of our deployees working at home in Australia,” explains Sayers. “We are doing what humanitarians do best – adapting and providing humanitarian support despite challenging circumstances.”