Oxfam's Response in Mainland China
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been spreading across mainland China since mid-January. Vulnerable groups in the country’s rural areas, migrant workers and street cleaners are just some of those who are bearing the brunt of this epidemic and are in urgent need of support. Oxfam Hong Kong’s (OHK’s) teams in the Mainland are working with various parties to source supplies, and assist poor and vulnerable groups. We have also offered prevention and safety information, counselling services and hygiene education to prevent the spread of the disease; we are also working with these groups to restore their livelihoods. As of the end of June 2020, we had reached over 283,000 people.
DISTRIBUTING RELIEF AND PROMOTING THE IMPORTANCE OF HYGIENE
Oxfam’s teams in the Mainland and partner organisations have been reaching out to vulnerable groups in both rural and urban regions. These include people living with HIV/AIDS, migrant workers and their families, domestic workers, migrant and left-behind children and the elderly. We have distributed protective supplies such as masks, rubbing alcohol, disinfectant, hand sanitizer and soap to encourage personal and environmental hygiene in order to stay safe from the virus.
Apart from protective items, our teams have also been providing food such as rice, instant noodles and vegetables to poor families, elderly live alone, people with disabilities and other vulnerable people. In Gansu Province, we supported our partners’ launch of a programme that empowers rural migrant workers going back to urban areas to protect themselves against COVID-19. Through it, volunteers in the existing project’s network were mobilised to provide protective items, and teach people in the same village returning to urban areas about how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
We and partners have also mobilised our volunteers to distribute protective items to and share information about how to prevent the spread of the virus with over 4,000 migrant workers in Longnan, Tianshui, Baiyin, Dingxi and Lanzhou Prefectures/City, where there are large migrant worker populations. In Lanzhou, boxes of vegetables with health information leaflets were distributed to poor families. A hotline was also set up to provide counselling services to people experiencing emotional/psychological stress as a result of the pandemic.
In Guizhou Province, we distributed quilts, disinfectant, rubbing alcohol, and packs of instant food in resettlement sites and community epidemic prevention checkpoints in Qixingguan District, Hezhang county and Weining county of Bijie city. We reached over 43,000 people. We also distributed electronic thermometers, disinfectant and rubbing alcohol to over 2,000 poor villagers in several villages of Liping County. Further, we shared ways to prevent the spread of the virus and check for symptoms with over 8,500 women, children and the elderly in these villages.
In Guiyang City, we distributed protective items to 21 schools that had students who were migrant children and three children’s community centres. We reached over 8,200 teachers and students through these initiatives. Virtual lectures about preventing the spread of the virus were also held for school managers, while medical volunteers offered prevention tips to the schools and answered staff’s questions in this area.
Protecting low-wage frontline workers
Healthcare workers, frontline social workers and cleaning workers as well as various low-wage frontline workers are all at great risk of catching COVID-19. In Yunnan Province, Oxfam has been providing protective equipment and prevention information to infectious diseases prevention and treatment hospitals, social work service centres, students in non-state schools and from rural villages, and frontline workers from the community where people have caught COVID-19.
In Guangdong Province, Oxfam distributed hand sanitizer to frontline workers such as cleaners, hawkers and security guards in Huangpu District, Panyu District, Guangzhou City and Shenzhen City. We also provided hygiene education in the community and collected their stories to increase public awareness about the difficulties encountered by frontline migrant workers.
To support the frontline social workers’ ongoing work with low-income vulnerable groups there and their efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we distributed protective items, including medical masks and hand sanitizer, to more than 1,600 social workers basing in 405 grassroots communities.
In Shenzhen and Zhuhai Cities, we distributed masks, disinfectant, etc. to communities with low-income workers (cleaners, construction workers, hawkers), migrants, children, and others.
In Hunan Province, we provided face masks and rubbing alcohol spray to over 4,600 sanitation workers in Changsha, Yueyang and Changde, and conducted hygiene promotion activities.
In Jiangxi Province, we distributed disinfectant, medical gloves and hand sanitizer to frontline cleaners in Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province. In Shaanxi Province, we distributed packages of protective items, including face masks, soap, disinfectant and prevention information leaflets, to frontline civil servants and staff in nursing homes in Zhen'an County, Shangluo City.
Supporting ethnic minorities
In order to help migrants from Myanmar who live in Yunnan – which borders Myanmar and China – to better understand how to prevent the spread of the virus, our partner disseminated leaflets in Burmese. With the help of volunteers, our partner was able to share prevention information with the migrants in Burmese and distribute protective equipment.
Want to learn more about our work in the Mainland? Visit Oxfam’s official Weibo account: https://weibo.com/oxfam (Chi only)