Food for Elders in Romania during Corona Crisis
In Romania, people over the age of 65 are no longer allowed to leave the house. In the project area in the Făgăraș mountains, the FZS partner organization Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC) helps care for those who are alone.
7 April 2020
The new measures were put in place on 31st March in a desperate attempt by the Romanian government to prevent an uncontrollable escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. At that point, the official number of infected people was with about 2,000 known cases still much lower than in many other countries. However, already the intensive care units in the hospitals were almost full. By now, the number of confirmed cases of infection has risen to 4,057 (07th April 12:00, Source: Worldometers).
To protect older people, who are under a particularly high risk of a critical course of infection, those over the age of 65 are not allowed to leave their homes anymore at all – not even to go shopping.
“Many of the old people in the villages don’t have anyone who looks after them anymore; the children have moved to the cities and now there is no one to help the old people. Many don’t have any pension either or only a minimal one, so they cannot afford to pay someone to go shopping for them,“ says Christoph Promberger, Executive Director of Foundation Conservation Carpathia.
In this emergency, the Romanian conservation organization Foundation Conservation Carpathia (FCC) started the „Food For Elders“ program. Since last week, they have been providing food and basic hygiene products to 500 older people living alone in the project area in the counties Argeș and Dâmbovița.
Farmers, rangers, truck drivers: Everyone is helping
Procuring food for 500 people during a crisis, and delivering it to ten rural communities, is a logistical challenge. To support the local economy especially during this time, as much of the food as possible is sourced from traditional, sustainable agriculture in the region. Local smallholders provide cheese, eggs, bread, spreads, honey and seasonal fruit and vegetables. Other essentials such as oil, rice, polenta, tea, toilet paper and soap are delivered from wholesale to Rucar by truck.
One team of FCC members coordinates everything from home. A second team composes the care packages and packs them in paper bags. Finally, rangers from the local protected areas deliver the packages to the elders, wearing masks in order to minimize the risk of contagion.
The food deliveries shall continue regularly for as long as the emergency situation lasts and the elders are affected by the total curfew. The program is financed with donations.
If you want to find out more about the Food For Elders program, you can follow this link to the page of FCC.
A conservation organization making food deliveries
Normally, the foundation, an FZS partner for many years, works to preserve the endangered beech and spruce forests of the Făgăraș mountains. Following the privatisation of state forest areas, the new owners often allow clear-cuts for short-term profit. To hold against this, FCC buys forest land with the aim of securing its permanent protection. The organisation also works towards the establishment of a large national park in the region. On areas barred by clear-cuts, FCC plants native trees typical for the location. The trees prevent slope erosion into the valleys. These are important tasks for nature and for the human population in the region which the organization continues to work on.