What is it about?

Complex humanitarian emergencies (CHEs) are natural and human made conflicts in areas with preexisting risks and problems. These include social, political, or economic risks. Helping people in CHEs needs large scale action from multiple agencies. People in CHEs are often placed into camps, like refugee camps. These camps tend to be overcrowded. They have poor access to water, sanitation, and hygiene. This makes them vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea and COVID-19. The authors of this article looked at how COVID-19 affects CHEs. They focus on CHEs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, and Yemen. They describe the factors that can make the effects of COVID-19 worse in these CHEs. These include malnutrition, poor access to healthcare and clean water, and preexisting chronic illnesses. They also describe existing factors that can help improve COVID-19 response. These include educational messaging. Finally, they talk about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on people in CHEs.

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Why is it important?

Around 2 billion people worldwide are current affected by CHEs. COVID-19 is making many of the problems in CHEs worse. For example, it is making food shortages and human rights abuses worse. It is increasing restrictions on education and economic burden. It is making conflict and unrest worse. COVID-19 is a global pandemic and cannot end until everyone is safe from it. This includes people in CHEs. Any lingering source of infection puts everyone in the world at risk. COVID-19 is affecting low-income and marginalized people the most. These findings can also be applied to help vulnerable people outside CHEs. KEY TAKEAWAY: We need an effective global response to overcome the pandemic. This response needs to include marginalized people. It also needs to address barriers to equitable health care, nutrition, and sanitation.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: COVID in crisis: The impact of COVID-19 in complex humanitarian emergencies, Journal of Military Veteran and Family Health, November 2020, University of Toronto Press (UTPress),
DOI: 10.3138/jmvfh-co19-0010.
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