At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 is difficult for so many people across the world. We are reaching out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We want to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation.
Paul Cronin is a former British military officer who spent 20 years leading expeditionary operations in Africa, the Balkans, Middle East and Pacific before resigning his commission and moving into the humanitarian sector in 2012. He reached out to Clara who lives in Australia as a personal trainer and runs her own fitness company.
“Last December and January this year, brought swathes of fires that destroyed 800,000 hectares of native habitat and more than a billion animals, with smoke that was so thick it made Canberra the most polluted city on earth. February saw hail stones the size of golf balls wrecking cars and homes, and now along with the rest of the world – Australia is stricken with coronavirus.
“I can’t speak for all Australians but the effects of the coronavirus so far, for myself, have been both grounding and profoundly unsettling. Grounding because, as a self-professed workaholic, the virus has carved out a little desperately needed peace amongst the hustle.
“How long will this last? What is the new normal ?”
“Unsettling because, aside from painfully bringing to light the inequities in Australian society (remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities will be among the hardest hit when the health care system inevitably becomes stretched to breaking point), the virus has left us all in a state of existential limbo – what is around the corner? How long will this last? What is the ‘new normal’?”
“At this early stage of the pandemic, Australians are facing the same day to day hardships as the rest of the ‘developed’ world: shops that are out of basic essentials like toilet paper, soap and hand sanitiser; figuring out how to balance working from home, with the stress of keeping young children occupied and educated; finding ways to stay connected with extended family and community as we strive to socially distance ourselves.
“We are not on full lock down yet but expect it any day”
“We are, about a week behind the UK, both in terms of the spread of the disease (at the moment the Australian Capital Territory only has 71 confirmed cases), and in terms of the messages we are receiving about how to protect ourselves. We are not on full lock down yet but expect it any day.
“We can still go to the supermarket to get groceries (in fact this is the only way to get groceries as all home deliveries have been cancelled), and we are still encouraged to exercise outdoors and can congregate in groups of no more than 10.
“Personally, I’m trying to balance an appreciation of this brand new quiet in my life”
“This morning some friends and I stood 2-metres apart in a car park and did burpies – a sparse fitness flash mob. Personally, I’m trying to balance an appreciation of this brand new quiet in my life with worrying about family, getting work done and trying not to despair that things may not return to normal. But then, I’m not really sure I want them to completely return to normal, as 2020’s catastrophes seem like the much-needed wake-up call that the life we were living was neither desirable nor sustainable.”
Paul Cronin is a former British military officer who spent 20 years leading expeditionary operations in Africa, the Balkans, Middle East and Pacific before resigning his commission and moving into the humanitarian sector in 2012.
Since then he has worked with a number of International not for profit and UN agencies throughout Asia, West & Central Africa and the Middle East as a Country Director, Director of Programmes & Operations and Head of Region to implement complex humanitarian responses and international development programmes.
Paul reached out to Jelly, a Philippine national who has worked in the humanitarian sector in Thailand for many years.
“Despite Thailand and particularly Bangkok being widely perceived as a wealthy country with a thriving capital and a business hub with one of the strongest economies in S.E Asia, there is a huge wealth divide that perpetuates a large working-class section of society that exist on criminally low wages.
“There are tens of thousands of Myanmar refugees residing in detainment camps”
“These are the people who are now suffering the worst effects of covid-19 as despite best intentions, they generally live in cramped overcrowded communities which make it impossible to self-isolate or to afford protective equipment such as masks which leads to an increased spread of the virus.
“A further pressing issue for the humanitarian system in Thailand is the tens of thousands of Myanmar refugees residing within the 9 detainment camps along the Thai/Myanmar border.
” It will be incredibly difficult to halt the spread through the camp”
“The camps are situated within dense jungle and despite benefiting from limited medical clinics provided by international organisations, sanitation is poor and when rather than if the virus reaches the population it will be incredibly difficult to halt the spread through the camp, into the local community and through the incredibly porous border into rural Myanmar (Kayin State).
“Prior to the pandemic the government were in the process of closing the camps, however this has stopped, and very little information is being released by the authorities.”
Would you like to share your story of the situation/ challenges facing your country?
We are asking anyone willing to share to answer the following questions and send to – firstname.lastname@example.org
At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 is difficult for so many people across the world. In uncertain times like these, it is heartwarming to see communities uniting in solidarity, and even song in some cases.We are reaching out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We want to identify and share the positive stories emerging from the situation as a source of inspiration for people in these challenging times.
Cate and Nico have lived in the UK and Italy and both run small business in the city. They are currently in Turin, Italy.
“Our daily lives have been turned upside down almost overnight. As a self-employed osteopath, I had to make the difficult decision to close all my practices in order to preserve my health and that of my patient’s health and their families.
“It was not an easy decision given that I have no other source of income and my monthly outgoings have not been affected at all by the virus! My partner and I have therefore confirmed with government advice and isolated ourselves at home.
“We can perceive a strong sense of community among the few people that we encounter”
“I think the best way to deal with this difficult, strange and paradoxical period in our lives is to take time for ourselves, which can never usually do because of our stressful routines, and take advantage of this situation to indulge in those activities that we had been putting off due to a lack of time.
“We see people regularly going the extra mile to be patient and kind to one another”
“Here in Italy, or at least in Turin, on those rare occasions we leave the house to go grocery shopping, we can perceive a strong sense of community among the few people that we encounter.
“There has been an incredible transformation in our behaviour as a collective which has unified the country and now, we see people regularly going the extra mile to be patient and kind to one another.
“In the end, we are all in the same boat, fighting the same battle and we all hope to be able to return a version of normality that many of us took for granted until a few weeks ago.”
We are asking anyone willing to share to answer the following questions and send to – email@example.com