The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported in Wuhan, China in late 2019, and within five months, it has affected 213 countries, areas or territories. As of 16 April 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 1,918,138 confirmed cases, and 123,126 confirmed casualties worldwide. WHO declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020. It is now a global health crisis and most of infected countries are following social distancing, travel restriction and strict lockdown policy as prevention measures. ADRRN members in the region have been working hard to support people in need at this difficult time and have taken local initiatives to provide health and livelihood support to respective communities. This situation survey documents local initiatives and action taken by ADRRN member organizations in the region in supporting their local and national government to cope with this pandemic outbreak.
HAMI at the field
HAMI’s advocacy for Afghan refugee and migrant workers in Iran Association for Protection of Refugee Women and Children.
(HAMI) has been working for refugee women and children’s protection. According to HAMI, out of the nearly one million documented Afghans residing in Iran, only a mere 3% live in settlements. The rest of the 97% in addition to a population of nearly 2.5 million undocumented Afghans live in urban or peri-urban areas. Most Afghans, live in large and economically challenged families where income-earners (including women and children) are mainly occupied in temporary and often hazardous activities that could not be done from home nor paused during the pandemic as the family relies on the income to survive.
Unfortunately, low education and awareness levels coupled with lack of access to personal protection equipment due to financial reasons, the vulnerable Afghan community is highly at risk in terms of contracting the virus and spreading it further. HAMI has been advocating with Government of Iran to contain the spread of the virus and then assist the refugees and migrant workers with a two-fold assistance, 1) During the Emergency Phase: Distribution of hygiene packs including virus protection face masks, washing liquids and disinfectant solutions, and 2) During the Recovery Phase: Provision of psychosocial support to families who have lost a member to COVID-19 as well as livelihoods assistance to help them absorb the economic shock while most importantly preventing resorting to negative coping strategies.
In the meantime, HAMI is also strongly advocating for multi-level international advocacy campaigns to help urgently by establishing a channel enabling Iran to receive humanitarian aid in form of goods, cash and services, and for more access to health sector, welfare and other emergency assistance for refugees.