How should refugee camps prepare for COVID-19?

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BARCELONA — 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.

Here's what the COVID-19 response looks like in refugee camps

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.

About the authors

  • Naomi Mihara

    Naomi Mihara is a Video Journalist for Devex, based in Barcelona. She has a background in journalism and international development, having previously worked as an assistant correspondent for Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and as a communications officer for the International Organization for Migration in Southeast Asia. She holds a master's degree in multimedia journalism from Bournemouth University.
  • Rebecca Root

    Rebecca Root is a Reporter and Editorial Associate at Devex producing news stories, video, and podcasts as well as partnership content. She has a background in finance, travel, and global development journalism and has written for a variety of publications while living and working in New York, London, and Barcelona.