Global charity Oxfam is set to lay off around 1,450 employees and stop operations in 18 countries, the organisation said on Wednesday. The company has been losing money for a long time, a process that began with the Haiti sex abuse scandal in 2018, and intensified with the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian reported.

Oxfam, in a press release, said its finances have been deeply impacted by the pandemic. Many Oxfam affiliates have been hit by closing of shops and cancelled fund-raising events.

“Oxfam currently operates in 66 countries and 20 affiliates,” the organisation said. “It will retain its physical presence in 48 countries, six of which it will explore as new independent affiliate members. It plans to increase resources to some of these programs and refocus how each works, according to the different specific needs of local people. It will phase out 18 of its country offices.”

Oxfam said it will shut down its country offices in Thailand, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Paraguay, Egypt, Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Benin, Liberia and Mauritania.

The charity said the move will affect around 1,450 of its 5,000 staff, and 700 out of nearly 1,900 partner organisations. The charity said it will honour its existing commitments before bringing in the changes.

Oxfam International Interim Executive Director Chema Vera said the organisation will deepen its footprint in some countries. “In some countries, Oxfam will have a deeper footprint as we focus our program resources and strengthen our local partnerships to maximize impact,” he said. “Inevitably, we have had to make some very difficult choices about where we will no longer have a physical presence. This reorganisation will take time to complete.”

The coronavirus has so far infected nearly 50 lakh people globally, and killed over 3.28 lakh, according to an estimate by Johns Hopkins University.

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