The American New East Refugee Aid (Anera), an NGO, started today a multi-faceted response to COVID-19 in Wavel camp for Palestinian refugees in Baalbek, Lebanon, after a Palestinian refugee who fled the Syrian civil war, and who lives near the camp, tested positive for the virus today. She traveled in and out of the camp often, interacting with friends and family there, according to a press release.
In response, Anera is going to deliver locally-made face masks to residents, volunteers and health workers in the camp, is constructing a sterilization gate to be placed at the entrance to the camp, and is working to provided food parcels to some 700 families there.
Anera said that 10 young students from Anera’s vocational sewing course at the Regeneration and Development Association, its local partner in the Bekaa Valley, worked all day yesterday to produce 3,000 protective masks, which adhere to the Lebanese Ministry of Health safety guidelines to be distributed to camp residents and health workers.
In addition, 15 youths who graduated from Anera’s vocational carpentry class are constructing a sterilization gate for the entrance to Wavel camp to prevent the spread of COVID-19, said the press release. This is part of a larger effort around Lebanon to build 25 gates for camps and communities. The gates are equipped to spray bleach solutions that sterilize vehicles and individuals. Volunteers from inside the camp will operate the gate and spray the camp interior. Anera plans to erect the gate in two days.
Anera will also begin today working with Najdeh Association to bring together 20 young people to assemble food packages for 700 families in the camp. This is part of Anera’s larger campaign to provide food to vulnerable families across Lebanon this Ramadan.
“Having one person test positive is one too many in an over-crowded community such as Wavel,” says Anera Country Director Samar El Yassir. “We are very concerned. A priority should be to set up as quickly as possible isolation centres where positive cases and suspected cases can be quarantined. It is impossible to isolate in a two-room house where often more than 10 people live.”
Anera’s initiatives are part of the Multidimensional Employability Support Package for Youth in Lebanon program: a partnership between UNICEF and Anera, with funding from the German Cooperation and the Government of the Netherlands.