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Novel Coronavirus Relief Efforts

 

 
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Oxfam's Response in hong kong

With the limited supply of masks and disinfectant, and the price of these items soaring in Hong Kong, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 has placed an exponentially greater burden on vulnerable groups as many of them can’t shoulder these expenses. That’s why since the end of January, we at Oxfam Hong Kong (OHK) have been working with our partners and people from low-income households to fight against COVID-19. Thanks to generous people from all walks of life, and through our own procurement efforts, we have received more than 224,000 masks, 76,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 9,500 packs of hand sanitizing wipes. These have been distributed to street cleaners, elderly people who live alone, the visually impaired, those with mental illness, low-income families and ethnic minorities. So far, we have reached over 30,000 people.

Against the backdrop of an ailing economy in Hong Kong because of the pandemic, we have continued to carry out research on the impacts of the coronavirus on the poor, and have been urging the Government to offer them with much-needed support. For instance, together with three other civil society organisations, we conducted the ‘Survey on low-income families’ employment situation amidst the epidemic. We found that unemployment among low-income families had increased by 400 per cent since Chinese New Year, clearly indicating that the coronavirus has impacted these families exponentially more. That’s why we’re urging the government to provide the unemployed with a monthly unemployment allowance of HK$5,800 for at least six months, offer unemployment insurance to better protect low-income workers, and create more short-term jobs. Learn more here.

DISTRIBUTING RELIEF AND PROMOTING THE IMPORTANCE OF HYGIENE

 

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Protecting Frontline Cleaners

With the continued spread of the virus, cleaners have been put on the frontlines to keep public hygiene in check. With a lack of basic protective equipment like masks, they are put at great risk. Since the beginning of February, we have been working with various partner organisations, including Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers, the Cleaning Worker Union, and Health In Action to distribute the masks and hand sanitizer. Together, we have distributed 50,000 masks and shared ways to prevent the spread of the epidemic, and have reached close to 5,000 cleaners who work in high-risk conditions. We have also distributed hand sanitizer to some of these cleaners.

Oxfam staff packing masks
 
In order to distribute resources as soon as possible, Oxfam Hong Kong's staff worked swiftly to pack surgical masks.
Cleaner receiving masks
 
On 7 February, we at Oxfam Hong Kong and our partners Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers – New Territories and Health In Action distributed masks and Walch hand sanitizer to 400 street cleaners in Sheung Shui.
Cleaner receiving masks
 
Since 19 February, Oxfam and its partners have been visiting refuse collection points across Hong Kong to distribute masks that were donated by Li Ka Shing Foundation to street cleaners.

 

According to the Cleaning Worker Union’s estimates, around 20 per cent of outsourced cleaners from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department are ethnic minorities, and many are Nepalese. Since most information about the epidemic in Hong Kong is either in Chinese or English, it can be difficult for some ethnic minorities to understand. During distributions with our partner organisations, Health In Action and Cleaning Worker Union brought translators along to explain how they can help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the language they are most comfortable with.

中環蘭桂坊垃圾站的清潔工,大部分來自尼泊爾,有工友接獲我們派發的口罩後,雙手合十道謝。
 
Cleaners at the Lan Kwai Fong Refuse Collection Point – many of whom are Nepalese – showed their appreciation after receiving masks.
尼泊爾籍翻譯向清潔工示範正確的洗手程序。
 
The Nepali translator showed cleaners how to wash their hands properly.
一班少數族裔清潔工的母語並非中文或英文,以他們的母語製作宣傳單張,有助他們提高公共衛生常識。
 
Some ethnic minority cleaners neither speak Chinese nor English. So, sharing hygiene information with them in their native language enables them to learn about sanitation more effectively.

 

政策倡議: 要求政府關注清潔工處境

Advocacy: Care for our cleaners

While distributing masks and hand sanitiser, we worked with our partners to interview 149 cleaners from across 15 districts to understand cleaners’ working conditions during the epidemic. The results were announced at our joint press conference on 18 February; many interviewees said they were ill equipped. We thus urge the government and outsourced cleaning companies to provide cleaners with the protective equipment they need.

Learn more

 

 

Offering Low-Income and Vulnerable Groups Relief

Aside from reaching street cleaners, OHK also distributed Walch hand sanitizer and hand sanitizing wipes to over 20 local organisations before Chinese New Year (CNY). After the CNY holidays, we continued to rush relief items like face masks to those in need. For instance, we distributed them to seniors and those living with chronic illness who have little access to these items because of their limited mobility. Together with over 10 organisations that work with various groups in Tung Chung, Kwai Chung, To Kwa Wan, Tuen Mun and other areas, we also distributed face masks and shared hygiene tips together with ethnic minority communities, seniors who live in poverty, low-income households, children and those with disabilities.

The visually impaired individuals’ sense of touch is crucial. With the shortage of disinfectant, however, they’re at greater risk of catching the virus when they go out. It’s especially crucial for them that they have hand sanitizer and wipes.。
 
The visually impaired individuals’ sense of touch is crucial. With the shortage of disinfectant, however, they’re at greater risk of catching the virus when they go out. It’s especially crucial for them that they have hand sanitizer and wipes.

 

While prevention and health information seemingly abound, many may have forgotten that seniors might not have the same access to this information, as some lack access to the internet, do not read newspapers or even watch television. That’s why we show them the correct way of putting on a face mask and proper handwashing steps when we see them during distributions.
 
While prevention and health information seemingly abound, many may have forgotten that seniors might not have the same access to this information, as some lack access to the internet, do not read newspapers or even watch television. That’s why we show them the correct way of putting on a face mask and proper handwashing steps when we see them during distributions.
Much of the information about the novel coronavirus in Hong Kong is in Chinese or English. Since not all ethnic minorities understand these languages, our partner Health In Action distributed leaflets printed in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and other languages.
 
Much of the information about the novel coronavirus in Hong Kong is in Chinese or English. Since not all ethnic minorities understand these languages, our partner Health In Action published leaflets in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and other languages. We distributed masks along with these leaflets in various communities.

 

Easing the Financial Burden on Poor Families

Distributing Rice to Low-Income Families

To ease the financial burden on low-income families, especially with the price of necessities like masks going up, since late February, we at OHK began distributing twelve tonnes of rice to 3,740 families with partner organisations like 1 Step Association, Alliance for Children Development Rights, Alliance for Protection of Low-income Families, Community Development Alliance (Tin Shui Wai), H.K.S.K.H. Tseung Kwan O Aged Care Complex, Society for Community Organization.

樂施會購入6噸白米,同事和義工連日來努力把米分成2至2.5公斤小包裝後,立刻運到各區夥伴的派發點,希望更多基層市民能盡快受惠。
 
After Oxfam Hong Kong staff and volunteers packed rice in smaller packages, they were immediately transported to our partner organisations’ distribution points in various districts, so people from low-income families could benefit from the distribution as soon as possible.
樂施會透過夥伴團體東涌社區發展陣線,向區內基層派發香米和口罩。
 
We distributed rice and masks to people from low-income families through our partner Tung Chung Community Development Alliance.
單親媽媽繆桂英女士,靠在快餐店打工的薪金,養活十歲女兒,受疫情影響,快餐店把她的工作日數由五天減至四天,失去部分收入。樂施會向她派發白米和口罩,紓緩她的生活負擔。
 
Ms. Miao is a single mum, who has a 10-year-old daughter and works at a fast food restaurant. Because of the epidemic though, she’s been asked to not work one day every week. We hope this rice will make life a bit easier for her and her daughter now that she's earning less, but spending more because of the soaring price of some necessities.

 

We would like to thank Active Concept, Health In Action, Li Ka Shing Foundation, Kerry Engagement, Koo Tin Lok Charitable Foundation, Tianjin Bird’s Nest (HK) Company Limited, Walch Hong Kong, singer JW (Joey Wong) and all donors for donating masks, hand sanitizer and other items to enable low-income and vulnerable communities better protect themselves against COVID-19.

We at OHK will continue to source masks and other items to ensure the poor are well protected against this epidemic, and ease their burdens. We will also continue to urge the government to do their part to protect the poor during this difficult time.

 

Organisations OHK is distributing relief to:

  • 1 Step Association
  • Alliance for Children Development Rights
  • Alliance for Social Protection of Low-income Families
  • Catering and Hotel Industries Employees General Union
  • Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers – Hong Kong Island
  • Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers – Kowloon
  • Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers – New Territories
  • Celebrity Charity Fund Association Ltd.
  • Cleaning Worker Union
  • Concern for Grassroots' Livelihood Alliance
  • Concerning CSSA and Low Income Alliance
  • Concerning Grassroots' Housing Rights Alliance
  • Concerning Home Care Service Alliance
  • Food Angel
  • H.K.S.K.H. Tseung Kwan O Aged Care Complex
  • HK Islamic Youth Association
  • Hong Chi Association

 

  • Hong Kong Blind Union
  • Hong Kong Islamic Culture and Welfare Society
  • Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association
  • Islamic Union of HK
  • Jubilee Ministries
  • Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Centre
  • Kwun Tong Methodist Social Service
  • Mission Bridge
  • Muslim Council of Hong Kong
  • People Service Centre
  • Society for Community Organization
  • Street Sleepers Action Committee
  • Tin Shui Wai Community Development Alliance
  • Tung Chung Community Development Alliance
  • United Muslim Association of HK
  • United Welfare Union

 

 

Together, we can make a difference!

 

Since there remains a shortage in face masks and the price of these is still quite steep, we will continue to collect face masks and distribute them to people in urgent need. Your donations can help vulnerable groups protect themselves against COVID-19!

We welcome

  • Adult and child size, three-layer filter face masks that come in boxes, bags or are individually packaged

(As the supply and the price of hand sanitizer has stabilized, we will not be collecting them anymore for the time being.)

Collection points and time:

  • Oxfam Hong Kong office: 17/F China United Centre, 28 Marble Road, North Point, Hong Kong
    Monday to Friday, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm / 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  • The Oxfam Shop: LG 8, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong
    Monday to Friday, 10:30 am - 6:30 pm / Saturday, 10:30 am - 4:30 pm

For enquiry, please call: 3120 5000

 

 
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learn more about Oxfam's response to Covid-19