Millions of people have died all over the world due to the COVID-19 virus. The pandemic has affected people of all types and statuses. Rich to poor; adult to young; minority or displaced no one is safe from the pandemic. Refugees, who are the world’s most vulnerable people are suffering due to the pandemic. Considering the risk a report by Amnesty International stated that the refugee camps may become the epicenter of the pandemic if immediate action is not taken. So, many are afraid of thinking about the second wave as the effect is becoming more prominent in some countries.
Syrian Refugee Crisis is one of the major refugee crises in the present time as almost 12 million people have been displaced and taken shelter in several countries. The first country that sheltered Syrian refugees was Turkey when they fled from the government crackdown back in 2011. Due to the increased violence, these people had to flee from their homes.
And the situation hasn’t much improved over the years. The recent violence has forced 900,000 people to flee in December 2019. And the number has also increased to 1,00000 in mid-February.
“Syria is the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time, a continuing cause of suffering for millions which should be garnering a groundswell of support around the world.”
Filippo Grandi, UNHCR High Commissioner
The impact of the pandemic has increased their sufferings as it is hard for them to withstand disasters. They are in dire situations and need protection, especially during COVID-19. As we know the pandemic has impacted the world economy, they have lost their jobs and income sources. Especially in Lebanon, the COVID-19 crisis has caused job loss among workers both temporarily and permanently.
The refugees in camps or temporary settlements may get the infection at any time. The refugees don’t have the necessary supplies to fight COVID-19. And refugee camp is congested and crowded. The resources are also scarce so with the limited resources they can’t sanitize their things so proper hygiene is nearly impossible. To maintain social distancing from one another is also not possible in densely populated camps. So, physical distancing is also not possible in refugee camps. Often the camp hospitals run out of hospital resources which further accelerates the distress.
“If ever we needed reminding that we live in an interconnected world, the novel coronavirus has brought that home.”
This is another statement by the UN High Commissioner Filipp Grandi, as the virus is affecting the people considering no boundaries or language barriers. No one is safe from the virus, not even the displaced. Refugees live in such conditions that they can easily get affected by the virus.
In some other parts of the world, the stigma associated with the COVID-19 has also caused public fears and increased discrimination against these groups. The refugees also fear that if they are separated they will be left alone or killed to reduce contagion. This may result in the concealment of illness and delay the detection and also treatment of the refugees. So, awareness and strong institutional support with multi-stakeholder engagement are needed to fight the virus in refugee camps. Providing correct information is important to rebuild trust so that false news can be avoided.