“The worst of crises requires the best of humanity. Now is the time for action. With your support, we can save lives.”
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Refugees and other displaced people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Border closures have made it more difficult for people fleeing conflict and other crises to find safety. Those who manage to escape often live in crowded camps and informal settlements, where isolation and social distancing aren’t possible or practical.
These settlements often have limited water, sanitation systems and health facilities.
The economic impacts of COVID-19 have also destroyed livelihoods and pushed displaced people deeper into poverty. With the vast majority of refugees hosted in countries already under economic strain, refugees struggle to compete for work and are at risk of exclusion from health initiatives.
Congolese refugee Alphonsine Mayamba, 20, volunteers as a health worker in Angola’s Lôvua settlement. She felt relieved and hopeful when she first heard that refugees and asylum seekers would be included in Angola’s national vaccination plan.
Alphonsine was among the first people in the settlement to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and now provides information and counselling to other refugees.
“Some refugees are still very hesitant about the vaccine because of fear and what they have heard,” says Alphonsine.
Alphonsine says she is encouraged by the number of refugees who have changed their minds, thanks to regular awareness campaigns.
Global vaccine inequality means that so far more than 80 per cent of doses have been given in high and upper middle-income countries.
With your help, UNHCR is developing health, water, sanitation and hygiene services to protect refugees and displaced people. We are monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and taking action to limit infections, as well as working with governments to ensure that people who have been forced to flee are included in preparation and response plans. We are also helping to protect displaced people against the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Your gift can provide vaccines and healthcare for refugees affected by COVID-19.
Your gift can provide cash assistance to help supplement lost incomes.
Your gift can provide hygiene supplies such as soap, sanitiser and hand-washing stations to stop the spread of disease.
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.