UNHCR – Space, shelter and scarce resources – tackling COVID-19

As countries around the world battle a second wave of coronavirus, UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, highlights how extremely vulnerable displaced populations face extreme overcrowding and limited access to services. basic products such as soap and water.


“Space, shelter and scarce resources – coping with COVID-19” is a new data visualization that shows how difficult it is for refugees and internally displaced people to comply with physical distancing restrictions and advice on hand washing – key steps in the battle to control the spread of the virus.

“Having access to basic services such as health care, sanitation and a decent shelter in which to feel at home is essential for all human beings to live in dignity. Yet this is not the reality for millions of refugees and other displaced people around the world, ”said Raouf Mazou, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations.

“While COVID-19 has affected us all, refugees already living in uncertainty have been disproportionately affected. “

“While COVID-19 affected us all, refugees who already lived in uncertainty were disproportionately affected. In these difficult times, it is crucial that we step up our support for programs and initiatives helping millions of forcibly displaced families who try to rebuild their lives as they struggle to access healthcare, education. , employment and adequate housing.

The data visualization compares the bustling Brazilian city of Sao Paulo with some of the most overcrowded spaces where internally displaced people currently reside, illustrating the population density in some refugee settings and highlighting the challenges refugees face in limiting the spread of COVID-19 under these conditions. For example, if Sao Paulo had the same population density as Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, it would have over 62 million people, instead of the 12 million who currently live there.

As for hygiene measures, in the least developed countries of the world, some of which host a large number of displaced people, nearly three quarters of the population do not have access to sanitation facilities, including soap.

The data visualization also shows how UNHCR is responding to help displaced communities around the world cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic.

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