The remote island of Nias accumulates the endemic disasters of Indonesia: earthquakes, tsunamis, lack of access to water and sanitation, malaria and dengue fever epidemics, and now Covid-19. A new project of the Foundation focuses on rural areas in one of the countries in the Pacific Ring of Fire most threatened by seismic disasters, climate change, diseases and the economic crisis. Indonesians are fighting on all fronts for survival.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has reminded us that pandemics are also natural disasters, although much more threatening. They are universal, affecting all human activities everywhere and individual human behavior plays a decisive role in their spread. The humanitarian and economic crises they cause must make us more aware than ever of the need to invest in their prevention.
Refugees are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Covid-19 has worsened their situation and added uncertainty to their future. At the height of the health crisis, those displaced by floods, droughts and pests are added to those fleeing violence and wars that have not diminished during the pandemic. Many of these conflicts seem to have been temporarily forgotten. It is time to remember them.
A new project of the Foundation helps the most vulnerable schoolchildren to effectively fight Covid-19. In Nicaragua, where the government is heavily criticized for the way it has dealt with the pandemic, there is a serious lack of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in many schools. More than five hundred schoolchildren and some 3,200 inhabitants of the municipalities of Yalí and San Lorenzo are being empowered to face infections.
The health emergency poses new challenges to urban planning. The criteria of sustainability are broadened with those of health, and the concept of healthy city radically changes if extreme poverty is not taken into account. The awareness that individual health is synonymous with collective health is one of the lessons of Covid-19 that we should not miss.
Beyond human tragedy, COVID-19 poses a reflection on how we relate to each other and to nature. And it leads us to another vision of the problems that beset the human species. The new society that is emerging from the crisis will have to integrate health emergencies into a more global vision with the values of proportionality and cohesion that are characteristic of the culture of the green economy. The path towards the SDGs must be aware of the fact that a pollution-free and ecologically balanced planet is synonymous with health.
Confidence in the safety and efficiency of the comprehensive water cycle has been reinforced during the Covid-19 pandemic, among those citizens who are guaranteed it. Most of them now have a better understanding of a key service that ensures their well-being. This knowledge should serve to reflect on the situation of the 2.1 billion people who do not have running water in their homes. The crisis unleashed by the pandemic threatens the plans of many countries with regard to the universal implementation of access to water and sanitation. Humanity cannot afford it.
The coronavirus has caused a global health crisis, which should help us to deal more effectively and efficiently with other serious diseases that plague the world. The fight against pandemics such as malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis must not be stopped, but must lead us to share knowledge and efforts.
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