Health

UNHCR warns refugees face dire consequences due to underfunded COVID-19 |

Emergency leads them listof the 10 most underfunded situations in 2021. According to UNHCR Public Health Chief Ann Burton, who called for more global attention and financial support.

Speaking in Geneva. Despite progress in many places, UNHCR continues to register new cases and people continue to die, she said.

Host states hit hardest

Ms Burton emphasized that “vaccine inequities continue to be the worst in many refugee host States”. She noted that 86 per cent of refugees were accommodated in developing countries, but about 80 per cent of all vaccine doses were administered in high and middle income countries.

Low-income countries also have the least resilient health systems and struggle to meet the needs of their populations before adding additional needs related to hosting refugees.

Ms Burton reiterated the call from UN agencies for states to share excess doses with COVAX address global vaccine inequalities and avoid prolonging the pandemic. “Very encouraged” by the deployment of a vaccine to refugees in host states, Ms. Burton warned that many barriers to vaccine access remain.

She reiterated that UNHCR stands ready to support states in overcoming some of these barriers if they have the means to do so, for example, “by creating information materials in refugee languages ​​suitable for people with low literacy rates.”

Economic implications

Ms Burton noted that the pandemic has affected internally displaced and stateless persons in ways that “go far beyond the risk posed by the virus itself”. Failure to “adequately finance the response only makes it worse,” she added.

The economic fallout from the pandemic led to the closure of their businesses and jobs, and their “precarious livelihoods were often first.” Internally displaced persons often lack access to measures such as distance education for schoolchildren or subsidies to offset the economic impact of governments.

This means people cannot afford to pay rent or afford basic necessities such as food, which in turn increases the risk of exploitation and gender-based violence, she warned, before reiterating her call for states to include refugees in national networks. social protection. and donors supporting UNHCR will help fill this gap.

© UNHCR / Diego Ibarra Sanchez

UNHCR warns of dire consequences for refugees, including in Lebanon (pictured), due to lack of funding for COVID-19 vaccination.

$ 74 million funding gap

UNHCR COVID-19According to Ms Burton, the response covers all regions and a range of needs.

At the end of August, they faced a $ 74 million shortfall in cash aid and smaller “but significant gaps” in funding to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on primary health care, primary education and services for people with special needs.

Pointing out that forcibly displaced persons make up one percent of the world’s population, she warned that failing to integrate them into the global response to the pandemic for health reasons alone would be “reckless”. But it was “not too late” to channel funds where they are needed most, she added.


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