Richard Butler | Exclusive By Daily Post | April 24th, 2020
Vanuatu stands to benefit from the AUD$2.6million QBE Insurance has directed to support the global response to the COVID-19 crisis, via Save the Children.
Funds will be deployed through the QBE Foundation’s existing charity and not-for-profit partners around the world, to assist those agencies in dealing with increase demand for their services and help offset a decrease in donations and funding due to the economic impact of COVID-19.
This includes QBE’s disaster relief partners with $770,000 contributed to Red Cross National Societies in Australia, UK, Italy, USA and Philippines and $730,000 distributed to Save the Children in Australia, Pacific, Europe and Hong Kong.
Funding will be used to support a range of projects including Save the Children’s work in communities in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji, where communities are at even greater risk in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Harold, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Pacific.
This will include:
• Promoting social distancing and ensuring families can buy essential food and hygiene supplies by delivering cash transfers to the most vulnerable people using mobile phones;
• delivering public health messaging through engagement with communities;
• supporting child protection initiatives; and
• rolling-out an online education platform.
“Save the Children is delighted by this announcement from QBE Insurance which is vital to supporting our regional neighbours,” said Save the Children’s Humanitarian Director, Archie Law.
“Vanuatu has been particularly hard hit by Cyclone Harold and in urgent need of aid,”
“With this funding boost, Save the Children will be able to support the livelihoods of the most vulnerable families in the Pacific through cash transfers for people who are unable to work during lockdown.
“We are also promoting important public health measures in PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji to protect children and families, and deliver essential supplies to some of the most vulnerable people.
“We know that countries in the Pacific don’t have the health infrastructure to cope with a global pandemic, so it is essential that everything is done to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“But more still needs to be done. The Australian Government must support our Pacific family through long-term health investment.”
Other initiatives include:
• The provision of $220,000 in additional funding is being distributed amongst our partners, including grants to both Foodbank Australia and KidsCan NZ who are working to provide food relief across Australia and New Zealand to some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
• A provision £400,000 in additional funding in response to COVID-19 emergency appeals across QBE’s European territories, including a grant of £50,000 to the British Red Cross to support their work with the National Health Service (NHS), the vulnerable, elderly, refugees and asylum seekers.
• A grant of US$100,000 in North America, in partnership with Village Capital to explore challenges to financial resilience that have emerged during the COVID-19 crisis such as the lack of social safety net for workers in the gig economy, and support solutions that create long-term economic stability.
• Supporting the Philippine Business for Social Progress to support indigent families impacted by the lockdown in Manila.
• Supporting Save the Children and Habitat for Humanity, who are providing hygiene kits to low income families, the elderly and other vulnerable groups plus laptops and mental health support to children in low income families in Hong Kong.
• Helping Beyond Social Services to provide food vouchers and hygiene kits to children and youths from low income families living in public rental blocks in Singapore.
QBE Group CEO, Pat Regan, said by supporting our community partners, QBE would in-turn be supporting the most vulnerable in our communities in their time of need.
“The health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is having an enormous impact on our customers and their communities right around the world and we are enormously proud of the work our charity partners are doing to support those facing hardship during this unprecedented time.
“At times like these, it is vital that business steps up to assist, which is why we are dedicating funds, bringing forward future funds and enabling more flexible use of existing grants and funding provided through our global Foundation, to ensure that our charity partners have the resources they need most right now.”
Mr Regan said QBE had worked with charity partners around the world to identify opportunities for which funds can be deployed immediately to support the COVID-19 response.
“I’m incredibly proud of the speed with which our teams mobilised, despite the challenging circumstances we are all experiencing at the moment, to work with our charity partners, cut red tape and get these vital funds moving,” he said.
Mr Regan said QBE’s $2.6 million commitment came on top of measures being rolled out across QBE to support customers experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
“This is an extraordinary time and while the road to recovery remains uncertain, we will continue to be there to support our customers and their communities, true to our purpose to give people the confidence to achieve their ambitions.”