We are seeing the concept of emergency aid being redefined in these times. Coronavirus is putting scientists and decision-makers under a tremendous amount of pressure. Time plays a much more important role now than it has in previous crises. On the one hand, the situation is becoming more dramatic by the day, on the other hand the prospect of things easing off in the short term are not exactly favourable.
The Swiss government is responding to the crisis with radical measures to be implemented as soon as possible. But aid from the Swiss people themselves was not far behind either. Even before the lockdown was announced, Alessandro Iacono observed how Facebook and WhatsApp groups were being set up all over Switzerland to help those people in risk groups with shopping and transport. A lovely idea, but one that threatened to get bogged down and fall short of its actual objective. “We thought if things carry on as they are, there will be absolute chaos where nobody will be able to find the relevant group for them anymore,” explains Iacono. And so the idea of hilf-jetzt.ch was born: a platform bringing together all groups – both people seeking help and offering it – in one place.
This idea struck a chord. Just a day in and already 120 groups had registered on hilf-jetzt.ch, and we continue to see around 100 more groups joining every day.