Is COVID increasing vulnerabilities in those already displaced by war?

A new set of briefing papers prepared by Crises Centre members for the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform (SSHAP) considers how the COVID-19 pandemic is accentuating existing vulnerabilities of populations forcibly displaced by war (refugees, asylum-seekers, internally-displaced and stateless persons) in settings across East Africa and the Middle East.

The Background Paper describes how, in addition to the devastating health threat that the COVID-19 pandemic poses to displaced populations, lockdown measures imposed by governments to reduce transmission are having outsized effects on these populations, further entrenching poverty, xenophobia and creating new humanitarian protection issues. With the exceptional physical distancing requirements of this pandemic adding impetus to a global drive towards the localisation of humanitarian responses, it also describes some of the local responses to COVID-19 mounted by forcibly displaced communities and humanitarian actors early in the epidemic. It ends by offering suggestions for how greater inclusion could help address vulnerabilities of displaced people to COVID-19.

The Summary Paper puts forward operational considerations of the ways in which humanitarian actors, civil society organisations and government departments with specific responsibilities towards displaced people can contribute to lessening vulnerabilities in this pandemic.

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