Covid 19, the global pandemic although became successful in making the international borders shut to reduce the spread of the virus, it failed to stop the war in the middle east. Being unable to migrate to another country the most vulnerable people in the field were forcefully displaced inside their own country. These internally displaced persons known as IDPs are often unable to receive help from national or international sources and thus living a life of invisible citizens.
According to the SSHAP (Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform) report, there are 79.5 million forcibly displaced people in the current world where more than half of the number are victims of internal displacement. The IDP clusters are most often found in the conflict-torn areas of the Middle East, particularly in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.
Syria: IDP Task Force Syria of the OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) says 1.5 million Syrians were displaced inside Syria in the first 6 months of 2020. With ever-existing poverty and broken security, the displaced struggled to get necessary humanitarian services. The covid-19 spread was reported in the overcrowded camps of Idlib, increasing the transmission risk of the IDPs. Aid from international sources was impeded due to the covid 19 situation of the world.
Yemen: According to IOM DTM (International Organization for Migration Displacement Tracking Matrix), 89,000 Yemenis were displaced due to conflict and violence in the first half of the year. Rainfall and subsequent flooding in March and April destroyed the temporary shelters of the IDPs, displacing another 66,000 whose health risks were further escalated by the pandemic.
Iraq: 4,000 Iraqis were displaced in the first half of the year compared to the 51000 in 2019. The significant reduction in displacement happened due to the reduction in extremist attacks and resultant military actions. Despite the progress of the displacement situation, the lives of the displaced haven’t improved much. The security condition is still fragile and people do not have sufficient access to basic services. Meanwhile, the government closed some of the camps for sending the displaced back to their origin, which increased the suffering of the IDPs.
The vulnerabilities of the IDPs amplified this year due to the pandemic. Lack of hygiene measures and poor housing conditions increased the risk of covid-19infection among the IDPs. Women and children are faced with the risk of abuse and gender-based violence. Since host communities and support organizations from abroad faced challenges to respond in crisis this year, funding should be increased for local organizations for ensuring essential service to the internally displaced.