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Refugees: Coronavirus

Question for Department for International Development

UIN HL3255, tabled on 21 April 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to limit the vulnerability of refugees around the world to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answered on

4 May 2020

One of the main risks to ending the COVID-19 pandemic is the weakness of developing countries’ healthcare systems. Those countries already struggling with humanitarian crises will be particularly stretched. Refugees are amongst the most vulnerable. They often live in close quarters without access to proper healthcare or shelter, many in crowded and unsanitary camps where social distancing and regular handwashing are almost impossible.

The UK has long been supportive of initiatives to build resilience amongst refugees and their host communities, including in health and disease control. We have done this through programmes that are providing access to public health information, clean water, sanitation and health services. We are also working closely with all our international partners to coordinate a global response that includes actions to address the vulnerability of refugee populations.

We have committed £744 million to date in the fight against COVID-19. Our most recent funding includes new support to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) and to UNICEF to help install new hand-washing stations and isolation and treatment centres in refugee camps as well as provide protection services and education opportunities for forcibly displaced children.