The following report summarizes the relief actions of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (BTCF) in response to COVID-19 in Haiti.
Despite the long-standing political instability which has caused livelihood and food insecurity to the people in Haiti, the people are now facing more challenges and vulnerabilities due to COVID-19 which has exacerbated the humanitarian catastrophe in the country. As of May 21, Haiti has accumulated 663 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 22 deaths and 21 recoveries.
Since 1999, BTCF has started delivering its aid and love to the Haitians after several devastating natural disasters that had hit the country, including Hurricane Mitch, Hurricane George, earthquake in 2010, and Hurricane Matthew. As a response to assist the populations that are heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis, BTCF continues its work in Haiti by sending immediate food supply to the people that are most vulnerable and needy, during the global pandemic.
Recognizing the importance and role of the local health institutions during this challenging situation, BTCF strives to provide its aid promptly and to continue to support and empower the essential frontline workers and institutions. BTCF immediately donated surgical masks and gowns to two local hospitals, Foyer St. Camille Hospital and San Francois Hospital, which BTCF has been working with for more than seven years.
To ensure the safety of the beneficiaries, BTCF scaled down its distribution and ensured the people maintained a safe physical distance between each other during the distribution. BTCF also educated the beneficiaries about the basic and vital prevention measures including handwashing, avoiding touching the face, and practicing good personal hygiene care.
Despite the importance of good sanitation practice, BTCF advocates for the adoption of plant-based diets which could reduce the emergence of zoonotic diseases directly and indirectly. BTCF will continue its work in promoting water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practice, as well as environmental-friendly lifestyle in Haiti to promote the well-being for the people and the environment of the country.