COVID-19 SPECIAL: Jordan, Ukraine

A Syrian refugee child uses a water kiosk in Za’atari camp, Jordan  A Syrian refugee child uses a water kiosk in Za’atari camp, Jordan © Oxfam International

In Focus by Silvia Luminati

 1. Jordan

Currently, Jordan hosts 656 000 registered refugees, mostly from neighbouring Syria, who are under a nationwide curfew to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although no cases of COVID-19 have been registered in refugee communities in Jordan to date, the United Nations High Commissioner  for Refugees (UNHCR) is concerned about the situation in the two main camps Za’atari and Azraq which host nearly 80 000, respectively, 40 000 refugees. Mohammad Tahir, a UNHCR external relations officers, stated: “Sanitation and hygiene levels are not ideal […] A large portion of the population are children, and it’s hard to make them understand the need for isolation and extra handwashing”. Hence, the United Nations Children's Fund continues to ensure life-saving services including the provision of water, sanitation and healthcare in camps and in informal settlements to keep the children safe.  


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2. Ukraine

Despite the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire,  sporadic clashes - including explosions- continue to erupt in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe reports. In March 2020, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMU) recorded the highest number of monthly civilian casualties since September 2019. Moreover, the HRMU expresses concern as even before the pandemic, 3.4 million persons  -in their majority  residents of  the so-called “grey zone” which separatesUkrainian government-controlled areas from those under separatists’ control- were in need of humanitarian assistance. Consequently, several humanitarian organizations and local NGOs called for an immediate ceasefire to protect the most vulnerables living in the conflict zone in the East of the country.


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