“We are in the middle of the second corona wave and we see that people today are losing jobs, having too little to eat and sometimes not even a roof over their heads”, says Marieke van Schaik, director of the Red Cross.
“We not only see that the corona crisis continues for a long time, but also that the consequences of the crisis are hitting large groups hard. That is why we are scaling up our aid provision substantially.”
More and more people are struggling to provide food for themselves and their families. The Red Cross sees a doubling of the food shortage in the second wave. The organization currently provides food aid to over 3000 people a week. That is up to people who do not qualify for the help of other organizations such as the food bank, who, according to the Red Cross, ‘increasingly have to say no’ due to a lack of money.
But it does not stop with food aid. Due to staff shortages in healthcare, the number of requests for medical support is also increasing, the aid organization notes. “Healthcare institutions need extra hands and as the Red Cross we play a role at the GGDs with testing and with source and contact research.”
With the arrival of winter, the organization also expects problems with homeless shelters due to lack of space. Although winter shelters will open soon, they should be arranged in such a way that the five-foot distance can be kept. At the moment, the Netherlands has 40,000 homeless people, according to Statistics Netherlands.
A special Red Cross helpline has handled over 24,000 phone calls since March. “In the summer it was a bit less, but now that people are more in quarantine and lonely, we also get more phone calls,” says a spokesman. “And after the press conference where the partial lockdown was announced, we saw a spike to 200 calls a day.”
The Red Cross depends on donations for their relief efforts. Giro 7244 previously opened for raising money for food aid. Up to now, this amounted to almost 900,000 euros. As of today, donations can also be made there for medical support, shelter and psychosocial assistance.
The Red Cross expects to have to provide aid until May 2021, for which it needs the 48 million euros.