IRC Warns of Covid-19 Risks in Vulnerable Countries

The International Rescue Committee warns that fragile countries are “ill equipped to handle an unprecedented pandemic on their own.”

The report from the respected humanitarian organization focuses on vulnerabilities in South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen, as well as conditions in camps for refugees and displaced people. These countries and places are particularly vulnerable to the new coronavirus because of inadequate healthcare systems and political crises arising from civil war and economic turmoil.

Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene are limited in many areas. In camps, crowds of people in small spaces contribute to the risk of disease spread. In Moria, a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, some 1,300 people share one water tap and more than 200 use one latrine, according to the report.

IRC says that governments and aid agencies need to coordinate activities and prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable. Funding needs to flow quickly and restrictions on movement should be lifted so that aid workers can reach targeted areas.

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