A place so traumatized by violence is now terrified of a virus in Northern Syria after 10 years of war and humanitarian catastrophe. Medics are doing all they can to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19. Masks are being handed out, parents are trying to protect their children but everyone seems to know it’s not nearly enough. They have very little equipment and supplies, and that means greater risks for an already vulnerable population.
Volunteers are teaching refugee children about the importance of proper hygiene. Anxiety in one of the largest settlement refugees in the world is on the rise. Warnings from aid agencies are stark.
Imagine then what it would cause in densely crowded refugee camps. Community centers filled with civilians in a war zone displaced people fleeing to informal settlements in places where there is little or no water, no washing facilities, little hygiene and no healthcare. They are scrambling to find enough medical staff to deal with the surges of patients. There is no doctor to call and there is no place for isolation if these people were asked to isolate themselves.
Due to severe travel disruption around the world, travel arrangements for resettling refugees are being temporarily suspended. SEMA is committed to working very closely within Syria to ensure that movements can still continue especially for the most critical cases wherever that’s possible. We began to hand out “hygiene bags”, which contain cleaning and hygiene products. We facilitated distribution of disinfectant and cleaning materials, installation of screening triage areas, and provision of diagnosis kits. Yet a lot more effort is needed.
As panic over the pandemic spreads around the world, we are very concerned about the virus spreading to vulnerable groups such as refugees and other people in overcrowded living conditions with limited access to health care and are always just trying to survive. People long accustomed to uncertainty for whom life has suddenly become an even greater challenge.
Time is running out to protect refugees from this coronavirus crisis. Now, more than ever, is the best time to get involved. Donate now.