As Covid-19 continues to spread across the world, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is gravely concerned for the lives and wellbeing of displaced people living in fragile and conflict-affected states. The coronavirus has reached countries already struggling to cope with the impact of war and other crises and refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) are among the most vulnerable to the direct and indirect consequences of this global pandemic. Millions are living in overcrowded conditions, often in camps or camp-like settings where recommended social distancing is all but impossible. Access to adequate health care and basic needs including soap and water were limited in sites long before the outbreak of Covid-19 so practicing good hygiene, as per WHO guidelines, is also an impossible task.
There is no time to waste. Donor governments must work together to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 within the world’s most fragile and conflict-affected countries. They need to respond not only to the immediate public health emergency but to the pandemic’s secondary economic, social, food security and protection impacts. They must share responsibility and protect the rights of refugees and internally displaced people at this critical time.