MMCF's Response to COVID-19 in Nigeria
As of March 24, 2020, Nigeria had 44 confirmed COVID-19 cases and Ebonyi State, where Fr. Edward is based, decided to close its borders to help combat the spread of the virus. Since most homes in Ebonyi State lack running water the World Health Organization's directive to combat the virus by repeatedly washing hands proves even more challenging to the rural poor of Nigeria. Those seeking to purchase food are required to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer at the gates before entering the market.
As soon as the MMCF board learned from Fr. Edward that COVID-19 was impacting the rural poor of Ebonyi State, MMCF wired funds to Fr. Edward to purchase soap and basic food staples to help the neediest families in the area surrounding Abakaliki during the pandemic. In early April, Fr. Edward and his parishioners began distributing the first wave of basic food staples and soap to the neediest households.
The border closures within Nigeria have led to shortages and increase in the price for basic food items at the local open air markets where families go to buy or barter to supplement what they might grow themselves. As Father Edward explains. "Only a few are able to make regular purchases now due to the high cost, and so many families eat only one meal a day.”
For more about MMCF's response to COVID-19 related hardships please click here.