While everyone around the world struggles to cope with the devastating impacts of COVID-19, the risks are heightened for the world’s approximately 71 million people who are forcibly displaced.
According to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, 134 refugee-hosting countries are reporting local transmission of COVID-19. Refugee camps and settlements are typically overcrowded, and refugees commonly lack access to water and hygiene supplies and facilities, which may cause the virus to spread.
A CARE analysis shows that women in countries experiencing war, poverty and instability are at an even greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gender-based violence increases, and women are forced to eat less or last, among other issues. Despite these factors, less than 1% of global humanitarian funding is spent on sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response activities.
CARE, which centers women and girls in its humanitarian response, is continuing to provide services and emergency support to displaced populations around the world.
“There is no shortcut here” says Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General, CARE International. “If we don’t act fast, millions of highly vulnerable men, women and children in high-risk countries will be left to battle this pandemic alone.”