Humanitarian agencies adapt to new Covid 19 lockdown culture


With Covid 19 lockdown, the world saw a heightened need for humanitarian needs. With the pandemic spreading further and bringing in a new culture of social distancing and self hygiene, the humanitarian assistance has also come up with multiples challenges. The United Nations say that the humanitarian agencies have started adapting to the new culture.

Physical distancing at relief distributions

With social distancing becoming a manthra, the humanitarian agencies have started physical distancing at distribution sites. They are dividing people into small groups and asking them to stay 1.5 metres apart from one another. The UN said that they were trying to minimize human exposure by distributing larger food rations at less frequent intervals. As part of this, the World Food Programme distributed two months of food to 1,30,000 Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh. The UNHCR) is going the same way in South Sudan and Kenya.  Some groups in Syria and Ukraine are doing door-to-door distributions to reduce crowding.

Handwashing and Hygiene

UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF and a few NGOs have installed handwashing stations in refugee camps, transit centres and registration sites. The agencies have also distributed household kits, including mosquito nets, home water treatment and soap in South Sudan to lessen the likelihood of malaria and other common illnesses from breaking out.

Temperature Checks 

UNHCR have installed thermal screening at various camps to ensure that sick people are separated from others.

Risk communication 

The agencies have started working with various community mobilisers to raise awareness among the vulnerable population on health, safety and hygiene. The agencies are reaching out through SMS, media and social media. Small meetings are also conducted. For instance, The UNICEF in South Sudan is working with the Ministry of Health to raise awareness. In Indonesia, they have partnered with National Disaster Management Agency.

Radio and TV

The humanitarian agencies are also using the means of TV and Radio for propagating good health and hygiene. With 90 per cent of the children out of school, UNICEF and Save the Children have turned to radio and television to teach children.

COVIOD 19 treatment centres 

With much concern over the spreading of the virus, the humanitarian agencies are for separating COVID-19 treatment centres from non covid centres.


The agencies are procuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), respirators, N95 masks, gowns and goggles for health workers


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