The coronavirus pandemic is directly affecting the livelihoods of vulnerable people. The Netherlands Red Cross has received an additional €4 million from the Dutch Postcode Lottery to enable necessary aid.
“Thousands of vulnerable people cannot provide for their basic living needs without help, and the support of hundreds of healthcare institutions and the Area Health Authorities remains necessary. This huge donation will enable money to be used directly where it is needed most. This is an exceptional gesture that will help many people,” says Marieke van Schaik, Secretary General of the Netherlands Red Cross.
Thanks to our players
Margriet Schreuders, Head of Charities at the Dutch Postcode Lottery: “The Postcode Lottery has supported the Red Cross for years in helping people in need. This need is now extreme. The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in terms of public health, but also in humanitarian terms. We are happy to make an additional donation to help people in emergency situations to get through this difficult period. We are very grateful to our loyal players that we can do this.”
It is not only elderly people or people with underlying health problems who are vulnerable, the Red Cross argues. People who do not have enough money for food or who do not have a roof over their heads are also particularly affected. “The socio-economic impact of a second wave will be particularly severe for people already at risk of losing their livelihoods. We expect this group to grow ever larger,” says Red Cross General Secretary Marieke van Schaik. “Moreover, this group is not always visible, which makes the situation even more difficult.”
Not everyone who loses their job or is unable to work for a while can count on state support. The Red Cross stands up for seasonal workers or people who do casual work as cleaners. Homeless people are also getting further into trouble now that the number of coronavirus infections is on the rise again. Due to the limited number of places at sheltered accommodation, homeless people are sleeping on the street more often. This makes it impossible to self-isolate if symptoms occur.
Extra emergency aid
While we wait for a vaccine, multiple coronavirus waves cannot be ruled out. And again this brings with it the risk of a patient backlog and an overburdened healthcare sector. The economic consequences will directly affect many people’s livelihoods and there may well be drastic cuts in public spending in the wake of the crisis.
This freely disposable contribution from the Postcode Lottery will be used to provide additional emergency aid. This is about supporting the healthcare system, providing food aid and offering psychosocial support.
Red Cross aid workers transport possibly infected coronavirus patients to and from care institutions where necessary. They also transport people to testing centres if they cannot get there on their own. Clients who need wheelchair or stretcher transport, or require intensive supervision, can also count on the help of the Red Cross. To this end, a new group of drivers and supervisors will be trained throughout the country.
The Caribbean Netherlands
People in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have also been severely affected by the coronavirus. Lack of food is one of the most urgent problems in Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The Red Cross therefore distributes food parcels, hot meals and food vouchers to the most vulnerable.
Families also receive hygiene and baby kits. In addition, the aid organisation provides shelter, pays bills for acute medical assistance and ensures that children can go to school, even if their parents cannot pay the compulsory school fees. Volunteers and professionals throughout the Kingdom are receiving additional training so that they can provide psychiatric help to the most vulnerable groups in the right way.
In addition to emergency aid, the contribution of the Postcode Lottery will be used to prepare the Red Cross for the challenges of providing relief in the coming period. For example, by making better use of new technologies the organisation can respond more swiftly and flexibly to the needs of society and train and supervise new volunteers more quickly. This will enable the aid organisation to lay solid foundations for providing continued assistance to the most vulnerable people in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in these uncertain times.