Decades of war and violent conflict compounded by economic problems and natural disasters have caused 2.2 million Afghans to become internally displaced. Those forced to flee their homes face serious challenges, including protection risks, the absence of basic shelter and limited access to public services and social protections and loss of income. Moreover, many IDPs live in camps or informal sites where overcrowding, poor nutrition, and inadequate provision of water, sanitation and hygiene make preventing the spread of disease extremely difficult.
As a result, the arrival of Covid-19 in Afghanistan is a crisis on top of crises.
Imagine having to leave everything behind to keep your family safe, only to face a new deadly threat: Covid-19. This is the reality for people living in makeshift tents without running water in places like Afghanistan.
Refugees and displaced people are extremely vulnerable to the virus. Basic handwashing facilities are often either unavailable or shared between many people. These camps are often temporary or unrecognised as permanent settlements by governments and are therefore not served by a local hospital. They also suffer high levels of chronic ill health due to hardship and malnutrition. Consequently, without sufficient medical care, the mortality rate of the virus could be higher in these settings than elsewhere.