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Coronavirus - Middle East and North Africa: UNHCR MENA COVID-19 Emergency Response Update #4

Coronavirus - Middle East and North Africa: UNHCR MENA COVID-19 Emergency Response Update #4

Highlights:

  • Across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, a number of countries, including Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon began announcing their plans for a progressive ease of lockdown and curfew measures.

  • There are four reported COVID-19 cases among persons of concern in the region (Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen). UNHCR is monitoring the situation and supporting national response plans to contain any further spread. Where possible, UNHCR is ensuring that isolation and quarantine protocols are followed to prevent the spread in refugee camps, IDP sites and communities hosting displaced populations.

  • Since the COVID-19 pandemic has taken effect, governments instituted full or partial closures of schools and education facilities, impacting some 1.6 billion children and youth worldwide. As seen across the spectrum of consequences resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, refugees, asylum-seekers, and other displaced people are at a particular disadvantage.

  • In parallel, from the onset of the pandemic and schools’ closure, several countries in MENA progressively implemented an array of solutions, such as activating national online learning platforms or enhancing the use and access to platforms that existed prior to the crisis, providing TV and radio-based learning, as well as using more home-based learning paths. While these solutions have entailed numerous challenges and boosted innovation, equity in access to online learning is a major concern.

  • In the immediate term, school closures are impacting on nutrition, with many now missing out on school-feeding programmes. In parallel, protection concerns for children currently out of school are heightened, due to emotional distress caused by lockdown or confinement, trickle down effects of parental anxieties, and the increased risk of child abuse, neglect, violence, or exploitation because of financial difficulties arising from shelter-in-place policies. An extension of school closures into the longer-term could also threaten to erode future school enrolment, particularly for girls.

  • To address the possible impacts of COVID-19 on child protection, the continuation of UNHCR’s regular programming is critical to minimise risks. In the absence or reduction of face to face contact with children of concern in this current climate, UNHCR MENA Operations have adjusted to remote case processing modalities, ensuring continuous coordination with child protection partners and due functioning of community outreach mechanisms.

  • Since the publication of the UN’s COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan in March, needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic have increased, including in countries not included within the initial Appeal. On 7 May, the UN launched an updated Global Humanitarian Response Plan, expanding the global plan to fight COVID-19 in fragile countries and increasing funding requirements from USD 2 billion to USD 6.7 billion. UNHCR’s revised total requirements to support the COVID-19 preparedness and response in situations of forced displacement, including those for UNHCR MENA, has increased from USD 255 million and now stands at USD 745 million. An updated UNHCR appeal will be issued on 11 May.

  • UNHCR is grateful to donors who have provided generous and timely support to the Coronavirus Emergency globally and to MENA. So far, a total of USD 230 million (31 per cent) has been contributed or pledged to the UNHCR Global Appeal.

Download Report: https://bit.ly/2SPEel0


Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
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