As the Covid-19 pandemic continues into 2021, maintaining contact with RCEL’s Member Organisations is more important than ever. We have increased contact over the last year in order to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on those veterans and widows we support across the Commonwealth. Ensuring aid is delivered to those who need it most remains our priority, despite the many challenges faced.
We would like to thank all member organisations for responding so promptly and effectively to the series of surveys we have sent. The results have provided valuable data enabling us to closely monitor the varying impact of the pandemic across the globe. This data is shared with those with a vested interest and has been well received and analysed.
The results of the latest survey can be seen below (information correct at 19th February):
86% of MO’s completed and returned the survey
96% for FCDO funded countries
- 28% are in some form of national lockdown
- Of those not in national lockdown, 11% have regional lockdowns
- 47% have curfews in place
- 44% have full or partial border closures
- 68% are subject to school and/or university closures
- 39% face transport restrictions
- 47% have restaurant and/or bar closures
- Mask wearing is mandatory in all countries
- Only one country reports that restrictions are impacting ability to deliver grants
- Belize, Canada, Scotland, South Africa and Zimbabwe report confirmed veteran or widow infections
- Three confirmed deaths among beneficiaries to date – Belize, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
- 34% of countries have commenced vaccinations.
- 67% say they will be willing to travel overseas in 2021, restrictions permitting.
Of those countries in receipt of FCDO funding, 94% of grants have been distributed. This is a fantastic achievement given the extent of lockdown restrictions in many countries. Member Organisations have faced many challenges and there is no doubt that for many, the distribution process has been complicated by the pandemic and related restrictions. So, whilst Covid-19 has not significantly impacted the amount of aid delivered, it has certainly created many challenges and obstacles to the distribution process. We pay tribute to the tenacity and resolution of RCEL’s case workers in overcoming these challenges, ensuring aid continues to reach those most in need. Feedback regarding some of the challenges faced include:
“Delivery of grants has slowed down, particularly in the rural areas. This is due to the lack of public transport and the many police road blocks which make travel between towns very difficult. It has taken longer but we have managed to pay most veterans.”
“Keeping Covid safe when delivering grants is challenging, particularly in a culture of handshakes and lengthy greetings.”
“We have experienced greater challenges in assisting people to open bank accounts due to lockdown restrictions imposed by banks.”
“Carrying out case work is challenging because beneficiaries are high risk. Visits to old age facilities are not permitted, making contact more challenging.”