Hungry and homeless: the economic effects of the pandemic among the displaced

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Internally displaced persons in Somalia ABDULKADIR / NRC (FILE PHOTO)

“They fear the financial consequences far more than the disease itself,” warns the NRC

The 80 million people living as displaced around the world have especially suffered the collateral effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a health emergency that has caused serious socio-economic damage against the most basic water lines of human well-being: food and the House.

Three out of four displaced or conflict-affected people have lost their income in the past year, according to a study by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), which fears the long-term consequences that may arise. stem from the pandemic.

Seventy-one percent have had difficulty meeting their rent and other basic housing costs, while 70 percent have cut back on food at home due to lack of resources, according to the survey, drawn from more than 1,400 interviews in Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Uganda and Venezuela and with research also in Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Jordan, Burkina Faso and Yemen,

“It was already difficult to earn a living before the virus and the crisis in Lebanon hit, but now we can no longer pay the rent,” says Randa, a Syrian refugee who fears that the landlord will evict her family. Lebanon is the country in the world with the highest proportion of refugees according to its population: a quarter of the total population.

Augustin Ouedraogo, a Burkinabe father of eight children, warns the NRC that “many of the displaced go hungry”, among other reasons for the “serious consequences” that measures aimed at containing the virus such as movement restrictions have had on the population. or the closing of the markets. “Food prices have risen. There are cases of malnutrition. When you go to the pediatrician at the medical center, you see many cases,” he says.

MORE AFRAID OF HUNGER THAN COVID-19
In the last year, the governments of many countries have adopted economic aid measures for various groups. This is “enormous” aid, but it does not reach the most vulnerable groups, warns Ole Solvang, director of Alliances and Policy at the Norwegian NGO.

In this sense, he warns that “nothing of this type has been provided for vulnerable displaced people who have lost their jobs and livelihoods due to the economic impact of the pandemic.” These people, he adds, “fear the financial consequences much more than the disease itself.”

Solvang points out that “in order to find a way out of the crisis together, we must not only guarantee that all countries receive vaccines and that displaced persons and refugees are included in vaccination plans”, but it is also necessary to guarantee that these people can “return to stand up “and face the future with a minimum of guarantees.

© 2021 Europa Press

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