How we are responding to coronavirus

We are committed to supporting disaster-affected families who are vulnerable to coronavirus

Working to slow the spread of coronavirus

Emergency shelter can help to slow the spread of coronavirus in overcrowded camps and settlements.

That’s why we’re providing the right materials and training to help people build shelter or reorganise temporary settlements. Doing this provides more space so that people are able to physically distance to prevent the spread of the virus.

On top of this, our household items like cooking sets, blankets and water filters are helping families reduce sharing and stay as healthy as possible.

Disruption in global travel since early 2020 has made it tougher for us to support communities around the world. But our links with local partners, combined with our storage of shelter materials and tools in locations globally, means we are still able to get shelter to the families who need it most.

Hurricanes and cyclones, conflicts and earthquakes – disasters will continue to hit as the pandemic rages on. We’ll keep working to provide emergency shelter, help slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

See how shelter saves lives

Where we're working


We’ve been working in Syria since 2012. Across the region, we’ve helped over a quarter of a million people who have been severely affected by the ongoing conflict.

Since the start of the pandemic and together with our partner ReliefAid, we have provided families in Idlib with tarpaulins and rope to reinforce their tents, helping people to keep a distance from each other. Mattresses, carpets, thermal blankets and kitchen sets can help to keep families to stay warm and prepare meals. We’ve also provided washbasins and soap – helping families stay as healthy as possible.

Right now, we’re working with our partners again to help more families in Syria. Amongst others, we will be providing soap and washbasins, and re-usable face masks.

Read more

A ReliefAid worker wearing a face mask sprays disinfectant on an aid delivery truck
A ReliefAid team member disinfecting all the trucks carrying aid.


Aid workers waiting in line to wash their hands in Cameroon.
The IEDA team queue to wash their hands during distributions in Cameroon.

To date, we’ve supported over 20,000 families in Cameroon.

Since 2020, we’ve been working with our partner IEDA Relief to provide tents, household items, shelter kits, tarpaulins and rope, and additional aid items to families who are affected by conflict and are under the threat of coronavirus.

Right now, we’re working on another project to support even more refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). We’re providing tents, kitchen sets, blankets, and other essential household items, including soap and face masks.

Due to the virus, we’ve been working closely with our partner IEDA Relief to ensure the safety of affected communities and staff in our work.

The use of face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser are in place, to ensure the team and the families we’ve been supporting remain safe.

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Burkina Faso

A woman holding a child in front of a makeshift shelter
Nongoma and her seven children are just one of the thousands of families who fled the violence. They have been living in a camp for internally displaced people since December 2019.

Burkina Faso is one of the fastest-growing displacement crises in Africa.

The insecurity and instability make it difficult for aid workers to reach some of the people in need, and coronavirus is making the situation even worse.

Despite the many challenges for humanitarian organisations, we are working with our partner HELP to support vulnerable communities.

In 2020 we launched a pilot project with our partner, providing tarpaulins, kitchen sets, water carriers, sleeping mats, high thermal blankets, mosquito nets and solar lights, to families who need them the most. We supported over 4,000 families since then.

Our partner HELP adopted mitigation measures, which include the use of antibacterial gel, masks, gloves and physical distancing.

HELP have also used the aid distributions to provide more information about coronavirus to rural communities.


In 2020, Sudan was affected by the worst flooding in decades, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

Together with our partner, the United Peace Organisation (UPO), we supported communities in the Gadaref region that were badly affected by the flooding.

We provided tarpaulins and other essential household items like kitchen sets, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets and water carriers.

In addition to the tarpaulins and the household aid items, families also received washbasins and soap.

These enabled people to protect themselves from coronavirus as much as possible.


In Ethiopia, conflict, disease outbreaks, rainfall shortages and flooding have forced people from their homes.

With the help of our partner, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), we have supported over 8,000 families since the start of 2020.

In 2020, we supported the coronavirus country response as well as the emergency shelter displacement needs. We provided essential aid, including soap.

Coronavirus mitigations were put in place for distributions to ensure the safety of IOM staff and the communities receiving aid.

IOM staff have used masks and disinfected all material used at distributions as well as provided handwashing stations. Our partners have also included coronavirus health and prevention messaging and banners at distributions.

Finally, each distribution only allowed a maximum of 50 people, to ensure that physical distancing was being kept.

Woman wearing a medical mask and washing her hands
"Using the soap I have received during the distribution, we have now started to wash our hands continuously, and also keeping our social distance from the community as much as we can", says Bulutna.


Most Indian states experienced torrential monsoon rains and severe flash flooding from June until October in 2020.

The disaster affected vulnerable families who were already in a tough situation, still recovering from the deadly effects of Super Cyclone Amphan and trying to protect themselves from the risk of coronavirus.

We worked with our partner Habitat for Humanity India to support communities in two districts of Odisha state.

Families received shelter kits including tarpaulins, rope and tool kits, hygiene kits including soap, bucket and face masks, as well as other essential household items.

We worked with Habitat for Humanity India to implement coronavirus adaptations.

These included reducing the number of families attending each distribution, ensuring staff implement mitigations such as handwashing and wearing masks, distributing Information, Education and Communication materials (IECs) as part of the packed kits to avoid unnecessary contact, and ensuring families receive coronavirus messaging to promote safe practices.

In addition, a basic hygiene kit containing masks, soap, and a bucket, was included in the aid package.

We need you

We’re working around the clock to reach as many families as possible, but we can’t do it without your support.

Please donate today to help us continue our vital work.

Image credit: Anne Mimault/HELP

More from our Coronavirus response

Our Coronavirus Response

Discover how we are working to help people protect themselves from coronavirus in dangerously crowded camps and disaster zones.

How Does Shelter Save Lives?

Emergency shelter can save lives by slowing the spread of Coronavirus. Find out why shelter is absolutely vital right now.

5 Things You Need to Know About Coronavirus

And how it’s affecting families living through disaster

Coronavirus: It’s not over until it’s over everywhere

This global pandemic is changing all our lives. It’s our duty as humanitarians to help those least able to protect themselves.

Pictures from the frontline

See how we’re working with local partners to get shelter to the families who need it most