The municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo increased its efforts to protect the community of migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers living in the area amid the coronavirus pandemic, providing a range of services, according to a press release from the city on Tuesday.
With the help of over 120 local volunteers, the municipality has established dedicated coronavirus testing sites, a door-to-door health outreach campaign in multiple languages and a service for the distribution of food parcels and vouchers, in coordination with with prominent religious and communal leaders.
Tel Aviv-Yafo's community of 40,000 asylum seekers and migrant workers has been hit hard amid the coronavirus pandemic, as their access to government assistance is limited due to their status in the country.
Some of the initiatives brought forward by the municipality also include a multilingual call center, the establishment of a coronavirus control center to assist with food and access to hotel isolation, and the distribution of basis necessities to migrant workers and asylum seekers.
Similarly, the municipality announced that legal status checks will not be carried out on those seeking a coronavirus test, which will be run in the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood, in collaboration with national emergency service Magen David Adom and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov).
The service was also provided by Mesila,Tel Aviv-Yafo's Aid and Information Center for Migrant Workers and Refugees, which was established in 1999 in conjunction with the Jewish Agency for Israel and Israel's educational and cultural authorities.
"The work of the municipality is invaluable on a daily basis, and certainly at times of crisis like this when the needs are enormous and many asylum seekers find themselves out of work. We have been working around the clock for approximately four months, with a huge workload. Providing assistance for current issues and future prevention programs are certainly critical, not only for the local community itself but for all residents of the area," said Miri Barbero-Elkayam, Director of Mesila.
Funding for the relief services was provided by private philanthropists in Israel and around the world, raiding NIS 10 million ($2.89m.) to date.