Leading Scottish charities have united to launch an appeal to help people in the world’s most fragile states fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The charities make up the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) whose coronavirus appeal, which has been backed by both the Scottish and UK governments and singer Annie Lennox, aims to help vulnerable communities facing the threat of the virus.
Despite lockdown measures in Scotland beginning to lift, the DEC say that the global emergency is far from over and warned that millions of lives at stake in overcrowded refugee and displacement camps.
The charities say that people living in crowded camps have little access to medical care, clean water or enough food, which makes them extremely vulnerable to infection.
Funds raised by the appeal will go to help provide people in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, DRC, Afghanistan and the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh with clean water, soap and information on keeping themselves safe.
Donations will also be used for equipment and supplies for front line medical and aid workers and ensuring families get enough food to prevent malnutrition.
The Scottish Government has backed appeal by contributing £240,000 through its Humanitarian Emergency Fund.
Former Eurythmics singer Lennox, who is also the Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University (The University for the Common Good), is urging others to get behind the appeal.
She said: “Despite the ongoing pain and challenge of the pandemic here at home I urge Scots to show global solidarity and uphold the proud record of internationalism they hold so dearly by donating generously to the DEC right now.
“One simple act – whatever you can donate – will show that solidarity and help save many lives.”
Sally Foster Fulton, head of Christian Aid Scotland and the DEC Scotland chair said: “Just imagine what it would be like to face with the threat of Covid-19 when you live in an overcrowded refugee camp, where social distancing is impossible and where you don’t even have access to clean water.
“During the pandemic, communities across Scotland have come together to protect each other from the threat of the virus; now we’re asking people to show the same solidarity with people around the world facing this silent killer. We’re urging everyone who can to donate today – every pound counts and will help save lives.”
Scottish Government minister for international development, Jenny Gilruth said: “Covid-19 is the biggest challenge that humanity has faced for generations and for millions of refugees and displaced people it has made an already terrible situation even worse.
“The virus does not respect borders and to defeat it we need truly global action. Throughout our response we have been guided by values of kindness and compassion, which is why as well as doing all we can to support people in Scotland, the Scottish Government believes it is right to help those facing unimaginable pain and suffering in some of the world’s most fragile and dangerous places.”
The appeal is also being supported by the UK government through its Aid Match scheme.