Within a very short period of time, COVID-19 has spread all over the world, infecting many people and leading to a huge loss of lives. Worryingly, the virus is posing a risk to millions of refugees around the world. In mid-May this year, several cases have been reported in the refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. If the pandemic does break out in the camps, it can well bring catastrophic consequences. Apart from causing a high number of infected cases and casualties, it may further export the virus back to other places.
We often forget that during a pandemic, refugee camps are among the most at-risk places. Here hygiene and medical facilities are not only far worse than that in major cities, but the refugees also lack hand sanitisers, masks and even access to clean water for hand-washing. As a matter of fact, many refugees are already in poor health as they are exposed to food shortage and other diseases.Extraordinary Difficulties
In this pandemic, many countries have imposed home isolation and social distancing to contain the spread of the virus by reducing social contact. However, these plans are not practical in refugee camps which are mostly cramped and overcrowded, with little space between shelters. Moreover, due to the risks posed by the pandemic, humanitarian organisations are not able to gather mass crowds and distribute food and basic necessities in a rapid and orderly manner. In fact, apart from seeing their efficiency significantly limited, many experience further delays in the delivery of materials due to the bans imposed by host countries.World Vision’s Response
With plentiful resources and well established institutions available, developed countries are more capable of offering assistance to their nationals during a pandemic. However, being forced out of their homes, refugees are often solely dependent on supplies from humanitarian organisations. Therefore, World Vision is working among refugees in countries like Kenya, Jordan and Bangladesh, to support them through this difficult time, and to help bring them long-term health:
World Vision gives out soaps, masks and hand sanitisers to safeguard the vulnerables against the pandemic.
With most economic activities now halted by the pandemic, opportunities for refugees to sustain themselves have largely disappeared. World Vision has been distributing food in the camps to provide refugees with basic support. During the distribution, World Vision staff also do their best in making sure every refugee maintain a certain distance from others and recording their temperatures.
In some refugee camps, almost all activities have been suspended. However, World Vision continues to provide waste management services in refugee camps to prevent germs from spreading.
World Vision also educates refugees on how to develop good personal hygiene habits like proper hand-washing to avoid falling ill. We also actively install sanitation facilities such as hand washing stations to improve hygiene.
The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that the world is closely knitted. When something significant occurs in just one place, no other part of the world can remain unaffected. As long as the pandemic is still ongoing in one place, it remains a threat to the rest of the world. Yet, if we are willing to share what we have with those in need by providing them with continued assistance, we overcome the pandemic together as one world. The most vulnerable will also be able to thrive and live with hope again.
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To ensure our work is carried out efficiently in an ever-changing world, World Vision will support different regions and allocate funds to particular projects according to the most current needs.