Coronavirus could wreak havoc on poor communities like South Sudan, new report says – ABC News

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Mother, brothers, uncles, cousins — having lost eight of her family to Ebola, Rosaline already knows how catastrophic a virus outbreak can be.

The 31-year-old is from Guéckédou province in the Republic of Guinea, where the first case of Ebola was recorded in 2014.

But now, Rosaline wants to do everything she can to make sure her county survives COVID-19.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there are a total of 954 confirmed coronavirus cases in Guinea, with seven deaths.

“Personally, as you can see in front of my house, all my children are already used to handwashing.

“And even if I am not at home, my children ask all visitors to wash their hands with soap before entering our yard,”

‘Shocking and frightening statistic’

But, despite that, aid organisation Plan International Australia’s program development officer, Sara Sinada, says COVID-19 will severely impact the world’s poorest and vulnerable communities, mainly due to a lack of basic infrastructure and health systems.

“[For example], South Sudan is a country with a population of 12 million people,” Ms Sinada said.

Plan International Australia’s new report highlights the biggest challenges the pandemic will bring to the world’s most vulnerable and poor communities.

Released on Thursday, the white paper lists five of the key issues facing the most vulnerable, including a lack of access to clean water and soap; child safety and education; densely populated cities and refugee camps that make social distancing a luxury; a fragile community and medical infrastructure and weak communication networks that allow misinformation to spread.

Ms Sinada said food security was also a pressing issue that needed to get as much attention as COVID-19.

Last week, the World Food Program released its Global Report on Food Crisis, which warned the virus could push the world into a hunger pandemic that will lead to “multiple famines of biblical proportions”.

“You cannot ask people to stay at home and not be able to provide them with the essentials, the basics of life,” she said.

“The risk is extremely high in these countries so people [do] realise the magnitude of the issues.

“[But] no one is going to sit at home and watch their children get hungry. If your children are hungry, you are going to go out and you are going to try and fetch food.”

Ms Sinada said though poorer communities, especially those in Africa, had learnt many lessons from their fight against Ebola, the gap was in the funding.

“All the governments are now focused on saving their own people and saving their economy,” she said.

“This pandemic is felt all across the world and it’s a personal crisis for every single human being on the planet at the moment. It is easy to get caught up in one’s own struggles.

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