The charity house of Al-Azhar, Egypt's highest Islamic authority, has allocated EGP 200 million ($12.7 million) to tackle the fallout of the coronavirus crisis, the religious institution said on Thursday.
Some EGP 30 million of the total will be allocated to aiding irregular and seasonal workers over the next months whose livelihoods were affected by work stoppages due to coronavirus, it said.
More than 100,000 casually-employed workers have applied for the aid on Al-Azhar's website.
A payment of EGP 500 will be granted to workers whose businesses have been halted by movement restrictions and other preventative measures to curb the spread of the virus, Secretary-General of the zakat house Amr Lotfy said. The house is currently assessing requests to select those who are eligible for the grant.
The charity house has also decided to double the value of the monthly handouts offered to around 94,000 families it sponsors by pumping an additional EGP 96 million, to bring the total assistance to EGP 192 million.
The grand imam of Al-Azhar also directed the zakat house to provide the necessary medical supplies, especially ventilators, to help the health ministry in its efforts to contain the virus.
The Egyptian Zakat and Charity House was established in 2014 to collect charity money paid by volunteering Muslims. It is supervised by the grand imam.
Zakat (alms-giving) in Islam is a religious obligation the value of which is calculated according to each individual’s wealth and possessions.
Al-Azhar had previously donated EGP 5 million to the state's charity fund Tahya Masr as a contribution to Egypt’s efforts in fighting coronavirus.
Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, to which the majority of Egyptian Christians belong, has also donated EGP 3 million to the fund dedicated primarily to the purchase of ventilators.
Egypt has so far recorded 1,560 coronavirus cases, and a death toll of 103.