As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, a new report is warning that refugees and asylum seekers around the world will be disproportionately impacted by the virus, and that government responses need to consider these populations in order to avoid complete disaster.
“The world’s 70 million displaced people — including refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs and other forced migrants — are among the most vulnerable. Already, their displacement leaves them disadvantaged in many ways,” states the report released Monday by Refugees International, a non-profit advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
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“The impact of the epidemic both exacerbates and is exacerbated by the conditions in which they live. A series of factors make them extremely vulnerable to the spread of the virus.”
This includes lack of space in places like refugee camps, inadequate health care and a lack of proper information about the outbreak and any new governmental policies being implemented. The report also notes that relief and humanitarian workers may begin cutting off contact with displaced communities as a way to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Organizations are also restricting the movement of staff.
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“If this reaches displaced populations,