Physical distancing, handwashing and the wearing of face masks have become a new normal as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues without any sign of respite. But the looming threat of COVID-19 outbreaks is none more acute than among communities of displaced people, particularly those living in overcrowded refugee camps and settlements.
Aid teams already near the limits of their capacity before the pandemic are now in a round-the-clock battle to prevent and fight coronavirus outbreaks, both in camps and within the wider community.
Even when it is being held at bay, the mere threat of coronavirus is having a debilitating impact on dispossessed people. Families reliant on wages from jobs worked outside camps and settlements have been hit hard by tough exit and entry rules. UNHCR says 89 percent of displaced people in Iraq who responded to a recent survey said COVID-19 had affected their livelihood.
Meanwhile, displaced people worry that they are seen unfairly as carriers of a disease that frightens the public imagination – and that coronavirus will only further marginalise them.
The Stream will look at how refugees in three different parts of the world are coping with the threat of coronavirus and ask what help they most desperately need.
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