Qatar is stepping up its humanitarian efforts at home as well as abroad, in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, avoiding a humanitarian disaster during the global coronavirus crisis.
Sheikh Tamim, the Emir of Qatar, has ordered his government to swiftly protect the oil-rich country’s most vulnerable demographic, the migrant workers.
Like other Gulf States, Qatar has been widely criticised for its treatment of its migrant workers.
Lolwah Alkhater, a government spokesperson, explained: “Human rights are at the centre of our prevention and response measures to the Coronavirus outbreak. The government is working to ensure that the salaries of workers are paid on the usual dates and their daily needs are met through the distribution of food and hygiene kits in coordination with local ministries and NGOs.”
NGO Qatar Charity has deployed field operatives in Doha to deliver assistance to 151,000 migrant workers locally, distributing 7,000 hot meals a day to those in quarantined areas, 43,000 emergency food boxes through 22 embassies, plus hygiene kits and leaflets communicating good hygiene practices across nine different languages.
As well as the ongoing humanitarian relief in-country, the Qatari government is supporting Italy in its efforts to contain the pandemic. Two field hospitals have been set up in Rome, each with a 500-bed capacity and fully equipped with modern technology to treat infected patients.
The Qatar Fund For Development stated that “collective action and global solidarity is indispensable to battle coronavirus. We are working with national Qatari entities to support countries particularly vulnerable to this crisis.“
Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, said that as well as helping countries and governments to repatriate their citizens, “Qatar Airways is in a unique position to offer humanitarian assistance to people all over the world, and it is our duty to contribute wherever possible. Not only are we ensuring that importers can maintain supplies of fresh produce and pharmaceuticals through our cargo operations, but we have also donated medical supplies to heavily impacted countries”.
To date, more than 75,888 people have been tested for coronavirus in the country, with 8,525 confirmed positive cases and 10 deaths recorded. (Source: Independent UK)