The Armenian Red Cross Society (ARCS), as an auxiliary organization to the government in the humanitarian field and the largest voluntary organization in the country, as well as represented in all the regions and numerous communities, is always standing with the governing bodies and the population.
The Armenian Red Cross Society (ARCS), as an auxiliary organization to the public authorities in the humanitarian field and the largest voluntary organization in the country, has a network of 11 regional, one territorial and 52 community branches, experienced and committed staff and over 3,000 volunteers. Armenian Red Cross is an auxiliary organization to the public authorities in the COVID-19 response covering the whole country.
ARCS is part of the national response mechanism which is set up under the auspices of the Deputy Prime Minister of the country. From the very first days of the State of Emergency, the ARCS has been implementing activities in response to the needs of vulnerable groups in collaboration and coordination with the Commandant’s office, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, all the Administrative Regions of Armenia and the Yerevan Municipality.
For quick and efficient response, ARCS urgently developed short -term, mid-term and long-term response plans, initiated local and international resource mobilization, mobilized and trained 1500 volunteers.
ARCS response was developed based on the Stepanavan branch’s “Emergency Situations Response and Humanitarian works coordination” center capacities. The technical base of the Center allows to implement comprehensive disaster risk research and develop quick and efficient response scenarios.
Immidietly after the announcement of Covid-19 pandemic, the disaster scenarios and necessary response plans were developed, Armenian Red Cross capacities in whole the area of the country was mapped – number of volunteers, transport and communication, warehouses and beneficiaries in need, the primary actions of the volunteers in emergency situation have been clarified, etc..
The following was carried out:
Risk communication and public awareness
From 16 March, the very first day of COVID-19 pandemic in Armenia, 1500 volunteers, trained by the ARCS, have been periodically distributing information leaflets in urban and rural communities of Armenia, implementing awareness activities among the population.
The leaflets on protection against infection are provided to the beneficiaries together with the humanitarian aid packages, they are given to the regional administrations, local self-governments, partner organizations.
Taking into account the continuous growth of COVID-19 epidemic in Armenia, the Armenian Red Cross Society (ARCS), in consultation with the Prime Minister's Office, launched a public awareness campaign throughout the country, focusing on yards and nearby areas where people do not wear masks and do not maintain social distance.
Taking into consideration the fact that the number of infected people by Covid-19 in Armenia, continues to rise, a public awareness campaign is being implemented in the whole area of Armenia, with the joint initiative of the RA Prime Minister office and Armenian Red Cross Society. According to the analysis, the most dangerous sites are the yards and nearby areas, where people do not wear masks and do not keep a social distance. Starting from 15 June, Armenian Red Cross Society volunteers walk around the crowded areas, yards, and public transport, distributing information materials, and reminding people about the importance of wearing masks, keeping social distance, and following the rules of protection from Covid-19, providing masks, gloves and also hand sanitizers. ARCS volunteers attach leaflets and posters in the entrances, on billboards, columns, cars, inside the Subway.
The awareness campaign is being carried out in all the administrative districts of Yerevan, 460,160 items of protection (masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers) have been distributed.
More than 500 000 printed information materials have been distributed since March 16. The same materials were also posted and shared online through the ARCS social media pages. All risk communication materials and community engagement strategies take into account the issues of domestic violence, child protection, and nuances when dealing with people with disabilities and refugees. Myths and misinformation are also taken into consideration so that further approaches to risk communication can be tailored accordingly. The content of the materials was developed based on the recommendations of Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Crescent Societies and the World Health Organization.
Armenian Red Cross Society, with the help of volunteers, provided food and non-food support to around 33 000 most vulnerable people. Humanitarian aid packages are delivered to the beneficiaries' homes by the volunteers of the Armenian Red Cross Society, to protect them from the virus. The assistance is continuous.
The beneficiaries are lonely and childless elderly people, people with disabilities, Syrian Armenians, graduates of orphanages, care homes beneficiaries, self-isolated people by instruction, families of Missing persons, mine victims, multi-children, and vulnerable families.
The list of people receiving humanitarian assistance is provided by the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
Psycho-Social Support Centers and Hotlines
ARCS 2 Psycho-social support centers operate in an emergency mode, in cooperation with the MoH and MoLSA, in Yerevan, the capital city, from where ARCS psychologists provide psycho-social support services to anxious citizens, including isolated people.
Starting from 16 March, PSS officers and staff responded more than 30 000 calls from Yerevan and regions, from which 70 percent applied for psychosocial support, 26 percent – for merely psychological support, and 4 percent were information inquiries.
ARCS Hotline number is 8184.
Contacts with the population and their feedback provide an opportunity to identify people in difficult situations, identify their needs, arrange volunteer visits, help the elderly, and people with disabilities in the household, including shopping. During this time the volunteers visited and helped about 1000 people.
Home Care Service
In the days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Homecare service of the Armenian Red Cross Society has been operating in the same mode.
100 people elderly and disabled people received home care services in Lori region in March, 99 in April, and 104 in May, in Gyumri region, 100 beneficiaries received care in March and 104 in April.
In 2020, the home care model has been introduced in Vayots Dzor region, where, based on the assessment carried out in cooperation with local self-government bodies, 30 beneficiaries have been chosen, to be involved in the project in the future.
258 beneficiaries from all three regions received food and hygiene parcels.
Gyumi 24-hour Care Center
Starting from 1 May, Armenian Red Cross Society took over the management of the Gyumi 24-hour Care Center, and from that date, a 24-hour shift was set up for the raising of the service quality, and now all the 6 blocks of the Center have full-time caregivers.
On 14 May, to prevent the frequent entering and leaving of the building by the beneficiaries in the situation of Covid-19 pandemic, with the support of Shirak regional administration and Gyumri medical center, in Gyumi 24-hour Care Center, 42 consultations, 11 electrocardiograms and 10 eye examinations were conducted by orthopedist, ophthalmologist, and cardiologist,
From 21 May, due to the tense situation related to the pandemic, the Center passed to a closed regime. 6 caregivers, 2 nurses, 2 waitresses, cook, and boiler house responsible are on duty for 24 hours.
The staff and beneficiaries of the Center were tested in May and have negative results for Covid-19.
The beneficiaries have been in isolation since 16 March. From the very first-day ARCS volunteers Armenian Red Cross Society volunteers have been disinfecting the Center weekly, all the staff and beneficiaries are provided with the necessary protective measures.
Refugees, asylum seekers, and individuals in a refugee-like situation
In the days of the Covid-19 pandemic, support to refugees, asylum seekers, and individuals in a refugee-like situation has been provided in online mode, to prevent the gatherings in the ARCS office.
Commandants decisions and information materials about prevention
During this time, Commandants decisions and leaflets on protection against infection were translated into eight languages.
Individual psychological counseling was continued online with all beneficiaries. Courses were organized remotely.
In the framework of the current programs, the support of the house rent compensation package provided to the beneficiaries and the food package were appropriate and extremely necessary due to the situation.
The most vulnerable beneficiaries were included in the Covid-19 pandemic response program as needed, receiving food and psycho-social services.
70 asylum seekers and refugees living in Armenia received food packages in May.
Supporting households in the field of cattle-raising
ARCS has an opportunity to support 32 households in the field of cattle-raising
In the frames of its current projects, ensuring long-term self – sufficient activities.
To respond to the worsening social conditions of the vulnerable people as a result of the pandemic, ARCS actively continues local and international resource mobilization.
For further response, the Armenian Red Cross has planned a number of programs and applied for its partners, which, once approved, will enable the ARCS to implement short-term (urgent), medium-term and long-term response activities, in the following directions:
• Humanitarian assistance - food and hygiene supplies to about 16,000 people
• Psychological support through psychological centers and hotlines
• Housing support for about 2,800 people (3-6 months)
• Cash support for winter clothing and footwear for about 2,000 people
• Provision of educational tablets for about 1000 children
• Winter utility support for about 2,000 families
• Development of community and households through support to agriculture and cattle-raising of about 720 households
• Raising awareness of the population in the whole territory of the Republic of Armenia to resist and protect themselves from the epidemic.
Partners and Donors of Armenian Red Cross Society
We thank all our local and international partners:
IFRC, ICRC, Danish Red Cross, Swiss Red Cross, Austrian Red Cross, USAID, HSBC Armenia, Izmirlyan foundation and the European Union.
“My Step” Foundation, “Milko” (CJSC), “ Sevani Ishkhan” (CJSC), “Sonanush” (LLC), “Green Farmer” (LLC), “Eco Fresh mushrooms” (LLC), “Ingo Armenia” (LLC), “Agro Trade” (LLC), “Golden Baker”, “Royal - Armenia”, “Smogsoyoiz” LLC, X Group, “Bayazed” (LLC), “Refruit” (LLC), Araks Poultry factory, Refruit (LTD), Carrefour Armenia, Electric networks of Armenia, GAT cutting.