There is no gain in repeating the obvious that the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic has put the world on its knees. Nations and their peoples are anxious and afraid of the worst as infections and loss of lives are on the rise daily in several countries. As this reality takes its toll, there is loss of livelihood, with the poor and vulnerable suffering depression and groaning on how to find something to eat and feed their families.
Reports from PROCMURA’s constituencies filed in by the PROCMURA Area Committees to the Central office, provide an overview of the situation on the ground around Africa. Although the pandemic has affected people across the spectrum, its impact is most devastating in the informal settlements in urban areas and villages where health and hygiene standards are very poor across the continent. Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders from these communities face daily demands for assistance from their respective communities and the wider communities at large.
The majority of persons from these vulnerable areas are not able to live up to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and their government directives of social distancing and washing of hands regularly with water and soap, as water itself is a rear commodity in their vicinities. The need for regular sanitisation of hands and wearing of face masks is a requirement that most of these communities cannot fulfil. The directive of social distancing is somewhat not feasible as most residents live in crowded households. The hygienic conditions in such informal settlements are deplorable as toilet facilities are shared by all members of the community thus generally increasing risks of all sorts of infectious diseases of which COVID – 19 is the most lethal. In addition to these, the requirement of “staying at home” is not practicable in most of these communities where livelihood depends on daily earnings that enable some of them to live - be it from hand to mouth. The worst scenario in all these is that children in the communities are more vulnerable as they play around with one another without any kind of protection such as face masks.
PROCMURA in line with its vision of peace, justice and reconciliation towards the wholistic (holistic) development of the human family across religious lines recognised that COVID – 19 in essence is an anathema to this vision. It therefore employed its programme of diapraxis (tangible action) with Muslims together and where that was not feasible to ensure that it’s Area Committees become active in providing humanitarian aid. This report highlights what the PROCMURA Central office has done thus far, and what some of its Area Committees have been involved in.