Almost a year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, it is evident that pandemics and other emergencies increase the burden on the already-stressed technical, human, and financial capacities. This impact is much more apparent in under-resourced settings (e.g., developing countries) and informal settlements (e.g., sites hosting displaced people and refugee camps). For instance, Bangladesh hosts more than one million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and has also been hit hard by COVID-19 with more than 535,582 reported and confirmed cases (as of February 2nd, 2021).
Although the standard COVID-19 prevention recommendations also apply to displaced populations, given their circumstances, implementing most of these recommendations can prove to be a great challenge as their access to resources and rights may not be the same as the host population. In informal settlements, a number of families may share shelters making it impossible to physically distance, access drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) that are deemed essential to prevent COVID-19 transmission might be reduced, and access to health services might be limited. The impact of COVID-19 on individuals and communities in these settings has been unequal – the vulnerable are most burdened, not just in terms of income and sustenance means, but also concerning basic conditions for survival and good health. Read the full blog post here.