Around the world, refugees, migrants and internally displaced people see their situation deteriorating as the number of COVID-19 cases increases. While health authorities' recommendations involve social distance and hand hygiene to protect themselves the virus, this population often does not even have water to drink and lives in tight tents with their families. Many still have bigger problems, like a war that doesn't stop because of the pandemic. MSF works in more than 70 countries to bring basic health services to these vulnerable people. Check out five reports that show how migrants and refugees are experiencing this unprecedented crisis:
1. Ibrahim, 60 years old - Iraq
“I have lived in the Laylan camp for about a year. We know that there are ways to protect against COVID-19, like wearing masks and staying away other people, but here five people live in each tent and four tents use the same bathroom. Camp cleaning depends on the habits of each family. A month ago, they gave us bars of soap, but that's not enough to clean bathrooms. The amount of soap is also not enough for a large family and now I have been unable to shower. The water available to drink here contains salts, and we have to boil it before using it. Another major problem is the lack of food. For this reason, we feel forgotten. ”
2. Mohtar, 31 years old - Greece
“Tensions have increased dramatically and there is much more violence since we were confined to the camps because of the blockade measures imposed by the government. And the worst part is that even children can't get out anymore. For us, being in Moria is the worst virus, not COVID-19. I want to tell the Greek government and Europe that the reason I am here is because my country has failed to protect me and my children. If you watch the news about what's going on in Afghanistan now, you'll see that my country is not safe - children and families are killed in bomb attacks all the time. We came here to save our children and offer them a better future, but we need help. ”
3. Abou Fadel - Syria
"I am just surviving. I borrow money friends and relatives without knowing when I will be able to pay them or even if I will be able to do it before I die. We received some donations humanitarian organizations, but they are not regular. I forgot what my life was like before the war. I just want to go back to last year, when the regime bombed us time to time. At least, there were no ground troops threatening us. "
4. Shokutara, 20 years old - Bangladesh
“I am concerned about COVID-19, because we have information about the virus. We receive a lot of advice on how to avoid it with good hygiene, taking care when sneezing and washing your hands before and after eating. But we are very concerned. People tell us to stay away others, but that is not possible when we live so close. Still, we try in the best possible way. To buy food, my husband puts on a mask and goes to the market.
I am happy here because when we lived in Myanmar we faced many difficulties and lived in fear. They tortured us. If we went to a health unit, we had to wait a long time and they charged us a lot of money.
5. Karla Patrícia Gámez - Mexico
“I'm Honduras and a solo mother. On June 20, 2019, I entered Mexico with my five children. Comar (Mexican Refugee Assistance Commission) assists me and I have all the necessary documentation, but now, because of COVID-19, I will not receive a humanitarian visa.
Doctors Without Borders brings me food every day and water to drink every two weeks. I saw many people who are suffering, are on the streets or in the parks. My children feel that they are in a difficult situation because they are locked up, but at least I feel very happy because I am fine and I am with them. We are all together."