Refugees, displaced persons, and asylum seekers are being overlooked. Although there are 70 million displaced people worldwide, mainstream messaging about COVID-19 precautions does not consider the situation in which many displaced communities currently live. In order to further support a localized, refugee-led response to COVID-19, iACT is currently collecting answers from a survey via community leaders (in Chad, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Greece). This survey asks about what actions NGO’s are taking, if they have access to hygiene products, where people are getting information from, what the nutrition and medical situation is, and how their community is feeling about the situation. Answers to this survey will help refugee leaders and iACT work together to create the next steps in preparation for communication about COVID-19.
In this survey, iACT staff also asked, “How can we support you?”
With the entire world being overwhelmed during the current global pandemic, this can be a loaded question. iACT’s refugee leaders and friends continue to show their unwavering determination to protect their family, friends, and community. Several responses highlighted the need for updated and factual information about COVID-19. iACT’s refugee camp-based staff is committed to stopping the spread of misinformation within their camps/sites. iACT’s “Coronavirus Facts and Precautions” and “Coronavirus One-pager” have been translated into 10 languages are being widely distributed throughout refugee communities globally.
“[We need] medical instructions to [help with the] prevention of coronavirus. Refugees are the most vulnerable people. If they [are] infected with this disease, there will be many victims.”
-Refugee leader in Chad
Another recurring response emphasizes the immediate need for hygiene materials. There is a lack of soap and water buckets throughout the camps across Chad, Tanzania, Cameroon, and even Greece. We know that washing hands with clean water and soap can be a lifesaving activity as the Coronavirus spreads. When asked if they had adequate access to soap in their camps, almost every person responded “no.” iACT will be supporting our refugee friends with supplemental funding for enhanced health and hygiene practices and materials (soap, water buckets, soap making supplies, etc.), and the dissemination of life-saving information (printing, phone credit, etc.). If you can, we really need your support. Please donate here and share this donation page with the hashtag #iactunited.
“First, thank you iACT for supporting refugees around the world and continuing [to give] us multiple information on how to prevent this deadly disease. Thank you so much, me and my family love y’all.”
-Refugee leader in Tanzania