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Global Eid celebrations threatened by Covid, conflicts, economic crises and monsoon rains

Eid celebrations on 20 July* could be very subdued for many families globally due to various challenges including Covid-19, conflict and displacement, economic fallouts, soaring inflation, monsoons and heavy rains.

To help people celebrate the Eid al-Adha ritual of Qurbani – which involves gathering to eat meat from animals symbolically sacrificed to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah – Islamic Relief will be distributing cows, sheep and goats across 29 countries, such as Bangladesh, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Gaza, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mali. Non-Muslim families in need will also receive meat. 

There are huge logistical challenges, largely as a result of Covid and increasing insecurity, but Islamic Relief teams are determined to carry out the distributions, due to overwhelming need, in the safest ways possible.

“We know that Eid distributions will be difficult this year,”

said Tufail Hussain (Islamic Relief UK Director)

“but we have been planning for months and we are determined to reach those in need; many of whom have not eaten meat since last Eid al-Adha.”

In Afghanistan, Islamic Relief is distributing 5kg of beef to almost 60,000 people in Kabul, Balkh, Nangarhar, Bamyan and Herat, working closely with the relevant line ministries and faith, youth and community leaders to ensure this is done safely.  

In Bangladesh, there is the double challenge of a national Covid lockdown, heavy monsoon rains and landslides. Plans are in place for 2377 cows to be distributed to feed over 260,000 people across the country, including host communities and Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and those on the island of Bhasan Char. It could be particularly challenging to reach Bhasan Char as the sea is often very rough during the rainy season, but the need is great, as living conditions are reportedly very poor. 

In South Africa, we will be distributing beef in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, where Covid rates are increasing daily. This will be particularly challenging this year due to a strict Covid lockdown and protests which have broken out following the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma. Islamic Relief staff and volunteers will be delivering to small groups of people at a local venues or directly to people’s homes, observing Covid protocols. Poverty levels are higher than they have ever been in the country, largely as a result of the Covid lockdowns and people losing their livelihoods due to Covid.

Given the pandemic, current instability, tribal conflict, displacement, food shortages and high inflation in Sudan, there will be a very high demand for Qurbani this year. Islamic Relief will be distributing bulls to refugees and displaced communities, including those recently displaced by conflict in Central Darfur and West Kordofan. The distribution will also go to refugees affected by the Tigrayan crisis in Gadaref. It is hugely challenging this year, as inflation has reached 379%, meaning the cost of a bull has increased from 50,000 SDG (Sudanese pound) (last year) to 200,000 SDG (£80-£320) this year.

In Ethiopia, sheep and goats will be distributed to 75,000 people in Afar, Oromia and Somali Region, including displaced people who fled the Tigray crisis and are now sheltering in the Yallo district of Afar 

In Lebanon, our staff members are not able to get petrol to drive to work, so it will be incredibly difficult to get enough for the distributions; we are currently working out options to be able to do this. Demand for meat, including from people who have never been beneficiaries before, has soared, as prices have increased by 700%. General food prices have also increased by 350%.

In Mali, Islamic Relief is distributing in Segou, Mopti and Timbuctoo, so insecurity is a major concern. However, staff have been doing important work on community peacebuilding involving community members at all levels of society, with the hope that this will help pave the way for safer distributions.

Islamic Relief is also supplying Eid gifts for children, including new clothes and school equipment in Gaza, Syria and Indonesia as it is often children who suffer the most.

This year, Islamic Relief will be carrying out a new initiative, called Qurbani + which involves supplying three live animals up to six months before Eid to vulnerable families in Niger and training them in animal rearing. The families then sell the animals closer to Eid at the market price which generates a profit. This helps them to break the cycle of poverty, by meeting longer-term needs, as well as supplying meat for Eid.


*date may vary depending on the moon.

For more info/interviews and filming requests, please contact: Louise Orton on [email protected] or call 07939141764.

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