Caritas Australia responds to COVID-19: solidarity and sanitation in Indonesia

7 Apr 2020   |   Blog

Tags:  Indonesia, COVID-19   |   No comments

In Indonesia, the Caritas network is working with marginalised communities to equip them with all of the necessities they require for good hygiene and nutrition during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Photo credit: Caritas Indonesia

These resources include personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and volunteers of the local Caritas Diocese in the form of masks, gloves and protective goggles as well as hand sanitisers and disinfectants.

Caritas teams are also providing nutritious food for marginalised communities in the form of powdered milk, supplements, vitamins and honey (based on categories such as infants, toddlers, children, youth, adults, and elderly) in the hope that this will increase the immunity of those most at risk including the elderly and those with compromised immunities. 

As of April 1, 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia was 1,677. Up until now, the death toll in Indonesia has risen to 122 in a population of 264 million (World Bank). This figure is expected to grow.

Photo credit: Caritas Indonesia

Fr. Fredy Rante Taruk, Pr the Executive Director of Caritas Indonesia, says that so far the focus is on promoting good health, water and sanitation in communities and getting them to spread the word.

“We’ve spent the last two weeks really promoting social and physical distancing in communities,” Fr. Fredy said.

“Now more people are staying at home and limiting their activities in large groups or crowds. To support this initiative, many Diocesan Caritas volunteers and staff
have been promoting the importance of hand washing and good water and sanitation practices in marginalised communities to tackle the pandemic. Across Indonesia, Local Caritas offices such as Caritas Purwokerto and Maumere, have provided water tanks in public areas, such as markets, churches and public halls, so that people can wash their hands with soap there.

Diocese of Banjarmasin,  Agats, Sibolga, Weetebula, Kupang, Jakarta, Makassar and Bandung have provided  disinfectant to public areas at the dioceses and parishes as well as promoted to people about washing their hands for 40 seconds with clean water and soap. Washing hands with soaps is much more effective than hand sanitiser at killing germs and we are telling this to all of our people,” Fr. Fredy said.

All over the world the Caritas network is upscaling the extent of its humanitarian response to the COVID-19 emergency through the provision of emergency food and medical supplies. Read more

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