Go to main content
 
 

COVID-19 adds to the misery of the homeless

Health Inclusion
Togo

In Lomé, the capital of Togo, COVID-19 restrictions have made the lives of homeless people even more difficult to bear. Many are children and single mothers. Humanity & Inclusion (HI) has been organising outreach to provide them with assistance.

Photo taken on the fly of street children in Lomé during an outreach exercise organised by HI in May 2020.

Photo taken on the fly of street children in Lomé during an outreach exercise organised by HI in May 2020. | © HI

In May 2020, HI’s teams visited the streets of Lomé at night to assist homeless people. The COVID-19 crisis has made their precarious living conditions worse. We spoke to Eli Koffi Afossogb, who took part in HI’s outreach exercises:

HI assisting the homeless

HI decided to launch a series of actions to promote the basic hygiene of homeless people in Lomé and supply them with food aid, and to indirectly reassure the rest of the population about their state of health. In the future, our actions will include opening two centres for the most vulnerable, including children, isolated women, and people with disabilities, where they can get a health check and psychosocial support. Two mobile teams will visit neighbourhoods at night to provide consultations. HI plans to help 3,000 people.

Begging, odd jobs...

At least 15,000 people live on the streets of Lomé, a city of two million inhabitants. Many are children, teenagers, and single mothers with young children. Before the pandemic, they often earned money doing odd jobs at the Grand Marché in Lomé, such as carrying groceries or parcels for customers or traders. Begging was an important source of income for them, enabling them to just about survive.

Business in lockdown

As a result of the curfew and the restrictions put in place from March to May to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Grand Marché was closed and the homeless lost their source of income. Although the restrictions were lifted in June, the recovery has been slow. There are fewer odd jobs to do. People who are afraid of them - because they see them as potential vectors of disease - are more reluctant to give them money when they beg, leading to a serious deterioration in their living conditions.

Not enough to eat

Restaurants were also forced to close during the two months of COVID-19 measures. Many homeless people used to eat what restaurants threw out. Only some restaurants have reopened, leading to a spike in cases of undernourishment.

Desperate children

Some homeless people have been forced from places where they used to sleep. Before the curfew, a group of children aged between 9 and 15 years old used to sleep near the post office.

Now they spend the night on the pavement. Some are at risk of sexual abuse. We have seen children overwhelmed by fear and despair.

Where your
support
helps

PRESS CONTACT

CANADA

Gabriel PERRIAU

USA

Mica BEVINGTON

 

Help them
concretely

To go further

HI assists Venezuelan refugees in Colombia affected by the Covid-19 epidemic
© Coalición LACRMD
Emergency Health Rehabilitation Rights

HI assists Venezuelan refugees in Colombia affected by the Covid-19 epidemic

As part of its response to the Covid-19 crisis, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is providing support to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia, where one million people have been infected the virus. The impact of the epidemic has been dramatic.

COVID-19: HI continues to assist people affected by the epidemic
© HI
Emergency Health

COVID-19: HI continues to assist people affected by the epidemic

HI's teams are still working to inform and help people affected by the COVID-19 crisis in many countries around the world.

Talking points and key information :  Innovation at HI
© Xaume Olleros / HI
Health Rehabilitation

Talking points and key information : Innovation at HI

The European Union Horizon Prize for Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid was launched in 2020. Each prize is awarded to an initiative that addresses major challenges in the field of humanitarian aid. The prizes are proposed into five categories: shelter and related assistance; water, hygiene, and sanitation; energy; health and medical care; and other humanitarian assistance (open category).