Devex: What should the COVID 19 response look like in refugee camps?

This piece originally appeared in Devex on April 13, 2020.

With COVID-19 already detected in refugee camps in Greece and Calais, France, organizations are taking steps to prepare for and mitigate the risk of transmission among displaced populations around the world.

With social distancing and regular hand-washing almost impossible to do in refugee camps, Devex explores how organizations are working to protect the communities from COVID-19.

Refugee camps present specific challenges for implementing an effective coronavirus response. 

Overcrowded living conditions make social distancing difficult to enforce, while lack of access to a reliable water source can make regular hand-washing difficult. Government-enforced telecommunications restrictions in some regions also hamper efforts to share accurate information with communities.

Despite this, aid groups are preparing as best they can for the inevitable spread of the virus, both in camps and urban settings. “What isn’t inevitable is the outcome,” said Devon Cone, senior advocate for women and girls, Refugees International. “I think the outcome can really be drastically changed based on our behaviors and based on how humanitarians respond.”

In this video, refugee advocates and humanitarian workers offer their advice on how governments, donors, and aid groups working with displaced communities can best prepare for COVID-19.