Coronavirus: UN, aid agencies fear worse to come for refugee camps | FT

As countries begin to ease lockdowns and focus on restarting economies, the UN and aid agencies are warning there could be a looming crisis in refugee camps. So far a major outbreak in a settlement has been avoided but overcrowding and limited access to basic hygiene facilities could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.

Let us remember the most vulnerable of the vulnerable around the world those in war zones and refugee camps and slums and all those places least equipped to fight the virus it’s almost four months since the world health organization declared clay vat19 to be a global pandemic and we still haven’t seen a major outbreak in a refugee camp but the united nations high

Commission for refugees and aid agencies are warning that the threat of a catastrophic health emergency remains as the new corona virus crossed borders governments around the world put in place measures to protect public health the whi advised that the most basic population protection against coronavirus meant hand-washing frequently with soap or an alcohol-based rub

It also advised people keep a distance of at least a metre between themselves and anybody coughing or sneezing but in camps like these that’s a huge of an impossible challenge this is by the way approximately one percent of the world population we’ve never reached this very significant percentage 1% of the world’s population amounts to 18 million forcibly displaced

People 26 million of them are international refugees many are in camps or informal settlements i was live among the wider population of host countries unhcr says it remains braced for the worst it’s called for almost half a billion dollars in extra funding as cases of the virus spread local authorities in host countries and ngos working with the un put in place

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Systems to prevent control infection within the camps this has included lockdowns temperature checks and testing but that is limited by availability and processing capacity according to ngos on ground the biggest factor protecting the cancers probably been the low rate of infection in many of the host countries were that change it would be difficult to prevent or

Control outbreaks in even the best equipped camps cox’s bazaar in bangladesh is camp that hasn’t been able to avoid the cleric 19 pandemic by the end of april unhcr had already reported 24 cases the camp is home to over eight hundred and sixty thousand reinga refugees unlike many cans cox’s bazar was in a country with a significant number of infections by the end

Of june bangladesh had reported almost a hundred and thirty eight thousand cases the lack of space is the biggest issue within the camp on average there are more than 34,000 refugees per square kilometer in cox’s bazar while there are ongoing efforts to improve the facilities in the ringa camps of the latest count by the un there was still 43 refugees for every

Hand-washing station 39 for every shower and an average of 18 people sharing a toilet moorea camp in greece opened in march 2016 the facility was originally designed to accommodate 2,200 people now it has a population more than seven times its capacity at 16,000 and 84 the international rescue committee says an outbreak inside any of the reception centers on the

Aegean islands would be catastrophic refugee camps in greece they say are some of the most densely populated places on earth all health authorities are saying wash your hands stain isolation how do you want this to happen in moria camp there’s no place to wash your hands let alone several times a day using figures provided by the un the financial times calculates

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That right now there are an average of 37 people sharing and the cat 63 people sharing a shower and 47 people sharing just one toilet however 8% of the facilities are in disrepair and according to medicines on frontier around 5,000 people in moria camp won’t have access to any of these basic facilities because they are outside of its official boundaries very few

Refugees returned home as a result camps which have been set up as temporary accommodation effectively become permanent that hurry camp in jordan is one example of this the campus set up in july 2012 and by september that year was home to more than 30,000 syrians fleeing conflict at home following an uprising against the regime of bashar al-assad today the camp has

A population of more than 76,000 and what began as a collection of simple tents with no services has developed into an established community with an average of just three people per dwelling each with its own toilet shower and tap the camp is clearly in a better position to manage an outbreak of kovat 19 by contrast moria would need to be 10k meter squared larger

To have the same amount of space per person as za’tari and in terms of access to hygiene facilities maria needs 4925 more taps 5160 showers and an additional 5,000 and 1712 ah cox’s bazar the numbers almost too large to make sense of to meet the conditions of community lights atari 538 kilometres squared of additional land would be required almost two hundred and

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Sixty seven thousand extra tax would be needed nearly two hundred and sixty five thousand more showers and clift 239,000 toilets in vastly better circumstances that hurry residents have been able to follow social distance and recommendations and stay in their homes as much as possible yet even here if covert 19 began to spread rapidly healthcare systems would likely

Be stretched beyond their limits make no mistake we have a long way to go this virus will be with us for a long time one hope the refugee camps is the age of their residents typically camps have a very high share of young people only 2% of the population of cox’s bazar over 60 and the figure for both marija and satori is similar so far data from arab award shows

That people under 60 or far less likely to have complications if they do catch the virus but unhcr points out though there are also additional risks to thousands of other asylum seekers who are immunosuppressed and living in crowded conditions with such limited access to sanitary facilities added to that while the number of older camp inhabitants is low in percentage

Terms in cox’s bazar that still announced thirty one and a half thousand particularly vulnerable people amnesty international has warned that even at the best of times humanitarian organizations don’t have a good track record meeting the needs of older people the agency has all that in the case of cox’s bazar amid the covert 19 pandemic repeating the usual mistakes

Would put those thirty one and a half thousand lives in imminent danger you

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Coronavirus: UN, aid agencies fear worse to come for refugee camps | FT By Financial Times

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