Alert CV19 062: Older people at risk in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continues to struggle with the harsh consequences of the 1990s war. Unstable political leadership and tension between ethnic and religious groups creates an atmosphere of mutual distrust. The population is significantly decreased because of the war and its consequences, and with an unemployment rate of more than 30%, the economy is unstable. Now the country is facing the additional challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government struggled to slow the spread of the virus during the first phase of the lockdown and introduced a curfew for older citizens because they are at higher risk. It mandated that people 65 years of age and older should not leave their homes, even to purchase basic groceries. Due to this restriction, older people living alone were met with a difficult situation. Volunteers delivered basic groceries, which helped some. But, given that around 25% of older people in the country live under the poverty line, not all were in the position to afford what they needed, especially the necessary hygiene products.
To meet the immediate life-saving needs of isolated older people, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), with support from Start Fund COVID-19, implemented a project in collaboration with 15 cities and municipalities across the country. CRS and its partners distributed food and hygiene parcels. In addition, all recipients received printed materials with instructions on COVID-19 prevention measures.
Start Fund COVID-19 is supported by the IKEA Foundation, UK Aid, Jersey Overseas Aid and private donors.