Sumatra's COVID crisis.
In the face of continuing extremely high levels of Covid-19 infection in north Sumatra, SOS and our frontline partners have taken the decision to put some of our field activities on hold.
The Government of Indonesia has imposed the strictest lockdown measures in Sumatra’s main city, Medan, including mandatory home working (other than key workers). This has meant it is not currently possible for project staff to travel to field sites and engage with partner communities.
As some of our partners’ field staff have tested positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks, we have also decided to limit engagement with local communities for the time being, in order to avoid exposing them to any risks.
This situation is being kept under constant review, but we anticipate that field activities are unlikely to be able to resume until October at the earliest. The team are using this time to undertake further work, including engaging in remote discussions with key community members, developing an application to collect biodiversity and environmental data, as well as participating in remote capacity-building on a broad range of topics including remote sensing, environmental anthropology and community interview techniques, laying the foundations for a strong programme once field activities are underway again.
Taking into account the extreme situation facing our colleagues in Sumatra (with over 40,000 confirmed cases in Medan alone), it is vital that we prioritise the safety and welfare of our partner staff and communities. We are in constant contact with our colleagues in Sumatra and offering all the support we can at this difficult time.