The Pandemic’s Secondary Impacts




Over the past few months, the world has been deeply affected by COVID-19. Not only has the pandemic disrupted our daily lives, it also brought along other consequences that are potentially even more harmful than the disease itself.

The Double Threat of Hunger and Disease

The common policies of lockdowns and social distancing may have helped slow down the spread of the disease, but they have also devastated the livelihoods of refugees. Being unemployed and poor, families are unable to afford the rise in food prices and in turn face hunger and malnutrition. Health systems are on the brink of collapse, making people more vulnerable to other diseases. Having been confined at home for an extended period of time, people have also become anxious and distressed. This means it is more likely for them to vent their frustrations on children and cases of domestic violence to increase. According to statistics, there has been an average increase of 32% in calls to SOS hotlines for domestic violence globally during the past few months when most parts of the world were in lockdown.

The war in Syria has been going on for years. For 15-year-old Fadi, this has forced him to flee his home and cost him his right arm in an airstrike. He desperately needs an artificial limb, but with COVID-19 quickly spreading, his family has been dealing with greater hardships, even simply having enough to eat has now become a problem.

Children Suffer Exploitation

The pandemic has also aggravated some existing problems such as child marriage and child labour. Due to poverty, many refugee families were already marrying off their young daughters in exchange for bride price and reduced expenses before COVID-19.

As a consequence of the pandemic, poor families are suffering even further financially, which will only lead to an increase in cases of child marriage. World Vision’s recent COVID-19 Aftershocks: A Perfect Storm report also estimates that at least 4 million more girls will be forced to get married in the coming two years.

Benesh comes from a poor and displaced family in Afghanistan. Aged only 14, she is already pregnant with her second child. When she was only 11, her families forced her to get married after accepting a bride price of US$3,000 for her. This has helped ease her family’s financial difficulties, but has also ruined her life. In the midst of financial difficulties, apart from child marriage, children are also vulnerable to being exploited as child labour. To prevent more disastrous outcomes in the future, we cannot wait any longer but to respond as soon as possible.

World Vision’s Response

Despite the risks of the pandemic, World Vision continues to offer as much help to refugees as possible. We will distribute food and tools as usual, while providing children with health services, education opportunities and psychosocial support. Even though schools and other places remain closed and crowds cannot gather, we hope to alleviate the threat and hurt that refugees suffer through adjusting the way we work, such as providing distance learning by radio and extending distribution periods.

Please join our cause. Your continued support can ensure refugees receive vital assistance to meet their needs in the long-run.

Monthly Donation


Provide 4 conflict-affected children with early childhood education per year, equipping them with the necessary knowledge to catch up on their studies when formal schooling is available.


Provide 5 poor families with seeds and gardening tools per year, offering livelihood opportunities and a stable supply of food.


Provide 3 refugee children with psychosocial support and activities, helping them alleviate the effects of conflict while learning social skills and protecting themselves.