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Covid-19: a crisis… not just a health crisis

09 July 2021

The Luxembourg Red Cross presents its activity report 2020: La Croix-Rouge en chiffres.

Since the spring of 2020, the news has been dominated by the pandemic and the constraints it places on society. As the Luxembourg Red Cross takes stock of its activities over the past year, it wishes to draw attention to the social and psychological repercussions that this crisis will have in the months and years to come.

The Covid-19 epidemic is above all a health crisis. Even now, with the vaccination campaign in full swing, the risks remain high: until herd immunity is achieved and effective treatments are available, the emergence of new, even more transmissible or deadly variants of the virus cannot be ruled out. The prospect of a new wave within a few weeks therefore remains a real risk.

According to Michel Simonis, Director General of the Luxembourg Red Cross, “since March 2020, Red Cross volunteers and staff have been mobilised to deal with the coronavirus. Be they are health professionals, educators or social workers, they have been helping the most vulnerable in the field.”

Today, it is necessary to broaden the spectrum of concerns to issues that are not only health-related:

: “Our first concern, more than a year ago now, was to urgently create adequate health security conditions to protect beneficiaries and our teams. In 2021, our focus is more on supporting the social and psychological repercussions that are likely to be felt more strongly as the health situation is brought under control.”

Michel Simonis, Director General of the Luxembourg Red Cross

Nadine Conrardy, Director of the Social Action and Health Department, acknowledges that the social impacts are fairly well under control for the moment: “With the support of the Government, individuals and companies, and together with the other players in the sector, our teams have managed to support the beneficiaries so that their situation worsens as little as possible. “Times are tough though, and even tougher for those already on the margins:

“The crisis has been particularly hard on the homeless and those living in insecure housing. Staying at home when you don’t have a home? With the various restrictions, their daily lives have been made more difficult. We have helped them, despite the sanitary conditions, but more needs to be done. Dignified housing is the bare minimum, then you can take care of your physical, mental and social health to become independent again. Without a roof over your head, everything becomes extraordinarily difficult.”

Nadine Conrardy, Director of the Social Affairs and Social Health Department

Michel Simonis adds: “There have been many gestures of solidarity in recent months: the public authorities have of course supported organisations like ours. There have also been many individuals and companies who have seen that it is those who have the least who have the most to lose… and if we want to continue to come together as a society’, we can no longer be satisfied with speeches, we must act. Luxembourg has all the assets necessary to overcome the challenge, and, in our place, we are preparing to go one step further. But it must be a collective effort… In the field of social inclusion and support for the most vulnerable, the rule is the same as for the virus: we are all part of the solution! “