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cases of COVID-19 among forcibly displaced people (as of December 2021).


More than 80 percent of the world’s refugee population live in low to middle-income countries with weak health, water and sanitation systems.


of refugees are able to meet just half or less of their basic needs as a result of the pandemic.

How does the COVID-19 pandemic impact refugees?

The COVID-19 pandemic knows no borders, no backgrounds, no barriers. It has threatened millions of lives and livelihoods across the globe – and those forced to flee have been hit the hardest. 

The majority of refugees and displaced people are hosted in countries with weak health, water and sanitation systems, making them particularly vulnerable to the disease. The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has further compounded these challenges, with many refugees losing their livelihoods and struggling to make ends meet. UN Refugee Agency reports show that approximately 74 percent of refugees are able to meet just half or less of their basic needs as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

UNHCR has been scaling up health, water, sanitation and hygiene services and implementing prevention measures to protect refugees and host communities during this public health emergency. It is also working closely with governments to ensure vulnerable displaced families are included in national preparation and response plans - including vaccination allocation and distribution plans - and supporting those who are experiencing economic hardship during the crisis.


UNHCR High Commissioner explains the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on refugees and displaced communities

Help refugees during the coronavirus emergency

A global pandemic requires a global response. With your support, we can prevent the coronavirus disease from spreading and save millions of vulnerable displaced families worldwide.

How is UNHCR helping refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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.

UNHCR’s coronavirus prevention and response operations are focused on the following areas:  

Delivering impact

More Facts about the COVID-19 pandemic

Two refugee girls from Venezuela washing their hands at an emergency shelter in Boa Vista, Brazil.

More Facts

  • 11.3 million refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs and others of concern have accessed protection services (as of June 2021).
  • 1.5 million refugee children and youth are out of school due to mandatory school closures (as of June 2021).
  • 84 percent of countries inhabited by refugees, IDPs and others of concern are reached by information campaigns about COVID-19 pandemic risks (as of June 2021).

Other Emergencies

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