In Colombia, more than 4 million people live in poverty and 1.4 million people lack access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene. We're urgently scaling up our work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is WaterAid doing in Colombia to stop the spread of COVID-19?
In response to COVID-19 in Colombia, we are:
- Installing public handwashing stations, prioritising already vulnerable indigenous Wayuu populations and reaching as many as 7,000 people daily and more than 1,000 rural households.
- Developing effective communications campaigns to reach rural populations in their mother tongue with hygiene messages.
- Reaching thousands more people with our “Ponte Pilas” handwashing campaign.
How is COVID-19 affecting the people of Colombia?
Like much of the world, Colombia is in lockdown. As of mid-April 2020 it had reported 2,800 cases of COVID-19 and 100 resulting deaths.
Rural communities in Colombia already face severe threats to their livelihoods, health and wellbeing due to poverty and malnutrition, compounded by frequent drought and the effects of climate change.
A lack of soap and clean water for handwashing increases the vulnerability of indigenous populations like the Wayuu. Without focused messages in their mother tongue to raise awareness about proper hygiene, these communities are vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus.
Many Wayuu people do not have access to water, sanitation and hygiene and do not have the luxury to stay home. Handwashing is their best defence against COVID-19.
They are also often marginalised in society, so we need to help make them aware of the global crisis.