Displaced people and host communities all over the world are at heightened risk as the coronavirus pandemic spreads. Here are some of the ways they – along with UNHCR staff and supporters – are taking action to stay smart, stay safe and stay kind.
Check here for updates throughout the day:
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
How do you self-isolate if your family shares a single tent in a crowded refugee settlement? UNHCR colleagues in Lebanon have thought about the problem and launched a project to build isolation units inside refugee settlements around the country.
“A whole-of-society approach is the only way to beat #coronavirus.”
Here’s our role in Lebanon ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/xJY62hLDwM— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) March 31, 2020
Gulan settlement, Khost Province, Afghanistan
Our colleagues in Afghanistan are raising awareness about COVID-19 and providing soap to 3,500 families. There is much more work to do, but we are thankful to all of the refugees and partners working with us.
@UNHCRAfg awareness raising campaign & distribution of soap to 3,500 families has started in the Gulan settlement in Khost Province 🇦🇫. We plan to expand efforts to other communities of the province soon #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/YmdzZppKDc— UNHCR Afghanistan (@UNHCRAfg) March 31, 2020
Please take a look at our latest statement on the COVID-19 crisis and how we are responding to protect refugees and their host communities, internally displaced and people who are stateless. We need everyone’s support to keep everyone safe.
Refugees, displaced people and communities hosting them are very vulnerable to #COVID19. UNHCR is asking donors to support existing aid programmes and contribute additional US$ 255m to support government responses in countries with displaced populations. https://t.co/QK25b6EP5X— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) March 31, 2020
Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya
Beauty and function. Refugee artists and tailors in Kenya’s Kakuma camp are joining together to produce these colorful masks.
Refugee artisans and tailors in Kenya’s #Kakuma camp have started to produce kitenge masks to show their commitment and #solidarity as part of the society. These masks will soon provide additional protection to help prevent the spread of #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/WHAbgE59Ed— Fathiaa Abdalla (@Fathiaabdalla) March 31, 2020
In case you missed it…
Nearly one million Rohingya refugees at the world’s largest refugee settlement are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 as they live in overcrowded conditions. This Al Jazeera story argues that current restrictions on mobile communications in the settlements in Bangladesh make it more difficult for them to receive and share vital information on how to prevent transmission.
Boa Vista, Brazil
COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and neither does UNHCR. In Brazil’s northern Roraima state, our staff are setting up a field medical centre that will provide treatment for Brazilians as well as refugees and migrants from Venezuela.
El trabajo para contener el #coronavirus no se detiene.💪🏽March 30, 2020
Nduta camp in northwest Tanzania is home to 75,000 refugees from Burundi. Steps setting out how to protect against COVID-19 are displayed on noticeboards.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Officials in Malaysia said they will not punish people who come forward for COVID-19 testing, no matter what their citizenship status. Including refugees and stateless people in COVID-19 prevention and care is smart, safe and kind.
Including refugees and the stateless in COVID-19 testing – regardless of their legal status – is just good policy in these challenging times. https://t.co/yNGW6rzCV6— Tim Gaynor (@timejgaynor) March 31, 2020
As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in Italy, one organization founded by a former refugee is helping newly arrived refugees in the city of Turin. The organization delivered food, diapers, feminine hygiene items and more to help people during lockdown.
In Germany, migrants step up to fill a potential shortage of medical workers.
“Five years ago the arrival of a wave of refugees caused much consternation and fuelled support for Germany’s far-right. Now, the country is turning to its migrant community to plug an anticipated shortage of medical staff battling the coronavirus.”https://t.co/seHUgpgt2n— Atom Araullo (@atomaraullo) March 28, 2020
UK Govt have announced that they will not be evicting refugees and asylum seekers from temporary accommodation for 3 months.March 30, 2020
Refugees from Nigeria living in Niger are making beautiful soap, doing their part to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Refugees in Niger 🇳🇪 as actors of prevention, solidarity and health response!March 30, 2020
Our staff in Sudan is working around the clock to protect refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Za’atari camp, Jordan
To boost hygiene, Syrian refygees at Za’atari camp in northern Jordan are making and distributing soap.
In case you missed it…
More than three quarters of refugees live in developing countries. As this Reuters story makes clear, a COVID-19 outbreak would put extraordinary strain on fragile local health-care services and likely result in avoidable suffering and death. Preventing or delaying outbreaks, particularly among the most vulnerable, is the most important action we can take right now.
‘Just one case’: fears coronavirus may spread like wildfire in world’s refugee camps https://t.co/yh6AsiybQZ— Jonty Clayton (@jontyclayton53) March 30, 2020
Preventing COVID-19 outbreaks is vital. Afghans who received financial support last year to start transport businesses are taking the message about coronavirus prevention out to the streets of Kabul on their tuk-tuks.
In 2019, donors incl. 🇪🇺🇩🇪🇺🇸🇰🇷supported Afghans to start their own transport businesses, now these business owners are supporting the #COVID19 response 🇦🇫. Prevention requires all of the community to be involved! pic.twitter.com/jytGmi1nOD— UNHCR Afghanistan (@UNHCRAfg) March 29, 2020
The World Health Organization has classified Libya among the high-risk countries in the Middle East and North Africa. UNHCR has stepped up its support for the health sector’s response to COVID-19, including in the country’s hard-to-reach south.
🚑UNHCR donated today 4 ambulances to 4 medical facilities in the south of Libya🇱🇾including municipalities of Sabha, Ghat, Derj & Brak al Shati.
We stand in solidarity with the Libyan population & will continue our support to Libyan health sector in response to COVID-19 pandemic pic.twitter.com/Hb39gcIZhv— UNHCR Libya (@UNHCRLibya) March 29, 2020
Countries should follow Portugal’s fine example. Inclusion, compassion and kindness are always the right choice.
Obrigado, Portugal!— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) March 29, 2020
An outstanding example of solidarity by inclusion in times of shared distress. https://t.co/doV22FDLNK
Pennsylvania, United States
We’ve been amazed and inspired by the refugees around the world moved to help their communities. Delivering groceries and air high fives, this entreprenuer in small-town America keeps his community going.
In case you missed it…
This important story in the Guardian (UK) warns that while countries implement restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, they need to remember that humanitarian aid workers must be allowed to deliver food, water and other lifesaving care. Countries must protect everyone, or no one is safe.
I would like to #salutehumanitarians still out there risking their lives to reach millions of #refugees, #IDPs + vulnerable #migrants with critical protection, support and solace. https://t.co/EBhLVHvNP3— George Okoth-Obbo (@GeorgeOkothObbo) March 28, 2020
Weekend reading! We have an excellent list of books, many of which have been translated into multiple languages. Share these titles with family and friends!
Looking for books to add to your weekend reading list?
Be inspired by one of these powerful 📚 showcasing voices of the displaced.March 20, 2020
American magazine InStyle on UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie helping refugees and children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As of this week, over a billion children are out of school worldwide because of closures linked to coronavirus.” #FridayThoughtsMarch 27, 2020
In case you missed it…
Why pay extra attention to refugees during the Coronavirus pandemic? See this great Q&A in Teen Vogue for answers and how to help.
Coronavirus Could Make Millions of Refugees Invisible Victims If We Don’t Pay Attention | teenvogue https://t.co/z7SCEdLoqs— Marjanna Bergman (@MarjannaBergman) March 27, 2020
Coronavirus means our staff and friends must find creative ways to communicate and offer support.
“We want to transmit trust and safety”#COVIDー19 makes everything harder. Refugees are scared and more vulnerable. We adapt to our new security measures and keep supporting.— Giovanni Bassu (@gbassu) March 27, 2020
Antonio from UNHCR Guatemala provides vital information via chat and phone to refugees #EveryOneCounts pic.twitter.com/mkL4VEGIKn
Workers at a UNHCR warehouse in Nowshera load a truck with soap, disinfectant and other medical supplies for distribution to health centres in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. Pakistan hosts more than 1.4 million Afghan refugees.
Our leading public health official sets out the steps we are taking to curb the spread of COVID-19 and save refugees’ lives.
UNHCR’s Chief of Public Health outlines the dangers the new #coronavirus poses to refugees and internally displaced people, what we’re doing to slow its spread, reduce its impact and save lives. #COVID19https://t.co/N0x2mlvsUJ— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) March 27, 2020
COVID-19 has closed schools at Dadaab, a complex of refugee camps in Kenya that is home to more than 200,000 refugees and asylum seekers. Undaunted, dedicated English teacher Anima gave her lessons over the airwaves.
Amina, a teacher in Kenya’s #Dadaab refugee camps, is giving a live English lesson to refugee and host community students at a local radio station. Radio education programmes are an alternative platform for +100,000 children there, as schools remain closed due to #COVID19. #GCR pic.twitter.com/VYPLsQKzGs— Fathiaa Abdalla (@Fathiaabdalla) March 27, 2020
Central Africa Republic
Going home and keeping safe along the way.
Central Africa Republic – this refugee is returning hom home after years of exile, and washes his hands at each transit point along the way, to protect himself and others from #COVID19 #coronavirus. https://t.co/Gz8QMY5uuj— Gisella Lomax 🌍 (@GisellaLomax) March 26, 2020
The kind of inspiration we need now.
🛒 Milk, cucumber, olive oil
💙 Solidarity, humanity, generosityMarch 26, 2020
In case you missed it…
This article in the Guardian (UK) reminds us refugees around the world stand ready to lend their expertise and skills to the COVID-19 fight.
During the Covid crisis it makes sense for refugees with valuable & relevant qualifications – like doctors – to be identified & allowed to help the national effort.
When the dust settles, we hope pathways to the workplace can ease.https://t.co/6ukiNlT1Bw— UNHCR United Kingdom (@UNHCRUK) March 26, 2020
Our work is “essential business.” COVID-19 has not stopped war and persecution.
Violence + persecution in Central America do not stop and neither does the work of @Refugees and other aid organizations in support of those who are forced to fleeMarch 23, 2020
Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates, keeping the ultra-vulnerable free of infection will save lives. Our staff in Lebanon have lost no time in building isolation facilities to safeguard Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley.
No refugee cases of #Covid_19 in Lebanon so far – but we must prepare. Working around the clock to pilot isolation facilities at informal #refugee settlements in the Bekaa valley. #UNHCR also plans to expand intensive care capacities at hospitals, for both Lebanese and Syrians. pic.twitter.com/Fi8No4mi8G— Josep Zapater (@ZapaterJosep) March 21, 2020
In the COVID-19 pandemic, AC Milan goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is supporting refugees. Thank you for your generosity Asmir.
Difficult times call for us to unite. My foundation @AB_Fdn will be making a donation to @refugees to help the most vulnerable. To get involved please head to https://t.co/q3URPWAQlP pic.twitter.com/EPNG2YMPK3— Asmir Begovic (@asmir1) March 20, 2020
Safety ever in mind, our colleagues in Southern Darfur don face masks and do what they always do – head out to work.
A time for reflection. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
Our cities are silent, empty. But they will fill up again with people, cars, fumes, noise.
May we not forget these difficult times. Let this be the opportunity to reflect on how we live together, use our planet, cooperate across borders and communities, and leave no one behind. pic.twitter.com/W1uWKCpQYL— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) March 25, 2020
A routine that saves lives. Our Brazilian colleagues and partners share handwashing tips with Venezuelan refugees.
Don’t forget to scrub between the fingers! 🖐️🏽🖐️🏽🧴March 25, 2020
At a community centre for internally displaced Ukrainians in the Donetsk Oblast region of the country, volunteers are using sewing machines donated by UNHCR to produce face masks for local residents.
Since 2017 @UNHCRUkraine has been supporting a community center in Bakhmut (Donetsk oblast), first by rehabilitating its premises thanks to 🇩🇪 @giz_gmbh funding. With machines we donated in 2018, volunteers are now sewing masks for the community in response to #COVID19 pandemic pic.twitter.com/A3UUHqh8u6— Pablo Mateu (@MateuPablo) March 25, 2020
Nominated by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi to take up the World Health Organization’s #SafeHands challenge, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Ben Stiller took an imaginative approach…
In Uganda, which hosts more than 1.4 million refugees, UNHCR has produced a video explaining how refugees can guard against COVID-19 and busting some common myths.
Za’atari Refugee Camp, Jordan
The region’s largest refugee camp is home to nearly 80,000 Syrians, and residents have come up with their own solution to ensure adequate social distancing in the queue for daily food distributions.
And that is how it’s done: shoppers lining up at the @ZaatariCamp supermarket keep their ✋distance. The best part? The idea of marking the spots on the ground came from the community.March 25, 2020
Maratane Refugee Camp, Mozambique
After Mozambique reported its first COVID-19 case earlier this week, UNHCR colleagues in the country’s main site for refugees have begun distributing soap and offering advice to residents on how to protect themselves from the virus.
Handwashing with clean water is the most effective way to fight coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/Mw5sKb3rB9— Alessandro Pasta (@AlexPasta) March 25, 2020
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
At the world’s largest refugee settlement, in Bangladesh, UNHCR is giving health tips and distributing soap to curb the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak among Rohingya refugees.
Handwashing with clean water & soap for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to fight #coronavirusMarch 24, 2020
Paying it forward: Four years ago, Robin Stevenson sponsored a refugee family to resettle to Canada. Now she is self-isolating after travel, and that family brought a care package to her door.
Back in 2016 we sponsored a refugee family to come to Canada. Today, knowing that we’re self-isolating because of travel, they brought bags of food to my front porch. Beans, dates, noodles, lentils, tahini, veggies, meat, and candy for my kid. So kind… and I’m so grateful♥️😭🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/BksTcxl62y— Robin Stevenson (@robin_stevenson) March 24, 2020
UNHCR’s representative in Poland is highlighting a refugee initiative in the port city of Gdansk to sew protective masks – vital kit in short supply as health-care systems strain to treat soaring numbers of COVID-19 patients.
A UNHCR airlift from Frankfurt flew 4.4 tonnes of much needed medical equipment including masks, gloves and essential medicines to support the COVID-19 response in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The country hosts close to one million Afghan refugees and faces critical shortages within its health-care system.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Fillippo Grandi highlights steps taken to curb the COVID-19 outbreak around the world.
From Bangladesh to Chile, from the Sahel to the Middle East, from Africa to Europe, UNHCR and its partners are helping governments step up preventive and preparatory measures for possible outbreaks of #COVID19 affecting refugees, displaced people and host communities. pic.twitter.com/0L71zlzsiK— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) March 22, 2020