COVID-19 SPECIAL: Chad, Palestine

Palestinian artist paints a mural to promote preventive measures against COVID-19, Khan Yunis Palestinian artist paints a mural to promote preventive measures against COVID-19, Khan Yunis © Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency

In Focus by Silvia Luminati

1.  Chad

Since the last update, the situation in Chad has deteriorated  due to the escalation of violence between armed groups and the Chadian army. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 170,000 persons in the Lac province fled the area and the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the already struggling civilians. The International Committee of the Red Cross reported that Chad was experiencing the worst food shortage of the last 30 years, which is aggravated by movement restrictions. Currently, 4 million persons face food insecurities  and OCHA warns that the impact of the pandemic could double this number in 2020.  As a result, COVID-19 risks amplifying conflict drivers, with severe implications for peace and security. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, underlines this concerns, stating  that the food and health crisis would in particular  affect  women.


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2. Palestine

Despite their efforts to combat the pandemic, Palestinian authorities face several difficulties: a weak health infrastructure, a fragile financial situation and the threat that parts of the West Bank face annexation. Since February 2020, the United Nations (UN) has been reporting that the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) had demolished 69 structures in the West Bank, including a total of seven water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. UN experts thus called on Israel authorities to cooperate with their Palestinian counterparts  “to ensure protection, prevention and treatment of all is critical. Such acts as raiding Palestinian clinics can only undermine such efforts”. The group also underlined that Palestinians,  a population protected under international humanitarian law, must enjoy access to healthcare without discrimination. The authorities of the West Bank have reported more than 3,700 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began, causing  Palestinian President Abbas, in order to prevent collapse of the under-resourced health system, to further extend the state of emergency until the end of July and to impose additional movement restrictions.


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