Many people at this point in time are going through difficult phases in their lives, handling problems that have been brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. While most have a place or home of their own where they can relax and solve these problems, there are others who do not even have a roof over their heads. People who have had to flee their homes and countries because of a danger to their lives and who are now living in an unknown place with fear of the coronavirus. Also Read - World Refugee Day 2020: These 10 Quotes Describe Almost Everything a Refugee Faces
As World Refugee Day 2020, which is marked annually on June 20, approaches, we take a look at some of the problems that refugees face because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also Read - World Refugee Day 2020: What Are The Rights of Refugees
As per the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who has had to leave his or her home and country over fears of persecution. These people do have rights, but their living condition is such that, with the ongoing pandemic, they are left in a very vulnerable state. Some of the factors that contribute to their poor condition are housing problems, lack of medical supplies and access to proper food and water. Also Read - World Refugee Day 2020: History And Significance Of The Day And Theme For This Year
Where the availability of proper facility is concerned, 80 per cent of refugees have fled to middle-to-low income countries which already have very limited health care. Countries like Bangladesh, which saw a huge surge of refugees who were fleeing persecution in Myanmar in 2017. The Kutupalong refugee camp there is according to the UNHCR the largest refugee settlement in the world, home to more than 600,000 refugees alone. At a time of when the COVID-19 crisis is going on, providing health care for so many would be a problem.
Apart from that, they have to live in tents or temporarily constructed shelters that are situated close to one another, which in turn makes social distancing and quarantine a lot harder. If not in camps then they live in crowded, poorly-outfitted, residential buildings, like in Lebanon.
Then there is the struggle for clean food and water that they have already been facing even before the virus. One of the main ways to prevent the virus from spreading is said to be through frequent hand washing, but with so much difficulty in getting water how will they manage. There is no testing facility or even soap, masks and gloves available, and on top of that they have no access to accurate information on how best to protect themselves. With restricted movement in place, they cannot even visit register sites where they are given monthly food rations at.
With so many problems involved, some refugee-led organisations are trying their best to provide critical information about the virus to their communities as well as distributed much-needed supplies like food and soap. And donations from generous donors have also helped support the work of the organisations. But for how long?