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At least 212 countries  globally affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19)



refugee-hosting countries reporting local transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)



of the world’s refugee population live in countries with weak health, water and sanitation systems


How coronavirus is affecting refugees

With millions of cases reported worldwide, the coronavirus pandemic is a global challenge that threatens us all - including refugees and other displaced people. 

The UN Refugee Agency is scaling up health, water, sanitation and hygiene services to protect people forced to flee and their host communities during this international health emergency. UNHCR is closely with governments to ensure vulnerable displaced families are included in national preparation and response plans and supporting those who are experiencing economic hardship amidst the crisis.


UNHCR steps up COVID-19 response

How UNHCR is fighting the spread of COVID-19

Since the beginning of the outbreak, UNHCR has been on the ground coordinating efforts to safeguard the rights and needs of forcibly displaced communities and to ensure they have access to essential services and lifesaving support, particularly in densely populated areas.

Building on its vast experience with previous outbreaks, such as SARS, influenza and Ebola, UNHCR is adapting and evolving its existing programs to protect refugees during this unprecedented challenge.

UNHCR’s coronavirus prevention and response operations include:

how unhcr is preventing the spread of coronavirus covid19 in refugee camps

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UNHCR's global response to COVID-19


  • Millions of internally displaced Yemenis live in makeshift shelters in urban and rural areas.
  • Yemenis who have fled the country have sought refuge in Oman, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Sudan.
  • Hundreds of thousands of displaced are living in Hajjah, a district northwest of the capital Sana'a.
  • Despite the ongoing crisis, Yemen hosts the world’s second largest Somali refugee population - some 250,000 people.

Coronavirus stories from refugees

Former refugee, small business owner, steps up for community in time of need

COVID-19 update: Facts about the novel coronavirus and how it impacts refugees

Other coronavirus updates and stories >

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