Crossfire and Covid-19: double crisis for displaced civilians

Published 21. May 2020
At a time when governments around the world are asking people to stay at home and limit their travel to contain the spread of Covid-19, armed conflict and violence are forcing hundreds of thousands to flee. Between 23 March and 15 May 2020, armed conflict in 19 countries has displaced at least 661,000 people.

Conflict-affected countries are likely to be among the worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Violence in these countries has displaced millions of people, many of whom live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, which are fertile environments for viruses to spread. Years of conflict have compromised or destroyed health services and decimated economies. With no social safety nets, displaced people are particularly vulnerable to the socio-economic impact of government measures to contain the pandemic.

On 23 March 2020, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres called for a global ceasefire so that the world could focus on a concerted attempt to combat the rapidly spreading pandemic. While a few warring parties have expressed support for the call, most have not, and conflict and violence have continued unabated in many places.

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