• With the “Double emergency” of displacement and COVID-19, the IRC calls on governments to step up funding and diplomatic efforts
  • New IRC analysis shows that vulnerable people in countries hosting the highest refugee populations need an immediate cash boost of $760 million to prevent COVID hunger and economic crisis.

“Today’s record-setting figures arrive at a desperate time for refugees and displaced people around the world, who now face an unimaginable double emergency: conflict and displacement itself, alongside COVID-19 and the global economic crisis it has generated.

“Crisis-affected countries that host most of the world’s displaced are combating COVID-19 with extremely limited resources – South Sudan has only four ventilators, more than half of Yemen’s health facilities are no longer functioning, in Venezuela, 90% of hospitals lack essential medicine and supplies. Now these countries and the displaced families sheltering within them confront the social, economic and political havoc the pandemic is triggering. 

“These two emergencies are powered by a clear failure of global leadership when it comes to strategic and immediate help for the world’s most vulnerable amidst a global pandemic. These numbers should serve as a wake-up call to the international community on the human cost of war, and the social and economic implications exacerbated by COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted deep fault lines across the world, including in Europe’s response to forced migration. For tens of thousands of people trapped in dire conditions in island camps in Greece, or those trying to flee the escalating conflict in Libya, European governments can and must do more.

“First, the EU’s upcoming new Pact on Migration and Asylum must be seized as the critical opportunity to put in place a more humane, fair and sustainable system for people on the move. Now, more than ever before, we need a European approach that puts people, rather than borders, at the heart of its migration policies, with solidarity, responsibility-sharing and human rights at the core.

“Second, the EU must champion an ambitious global response to the double emergencies of COVID-19 and displacement. Mobilising political and economic support for prevention,  preparedness and ultimately a collective recovery, inclusive of asylum seekers, migrants and refugees, will be critical. The EU’s multi-annual financial framework including the Next Generation EU recovery package are real opportunities for member states to demonstrate solidarity by reinforcing essential humanitarian and development budgets.

“And third, the EU needs to increase its diplomatic engagement to push for lasting ceasefires in conflicts from Yemen, to Libya to Syria that are driving displacement, as well as humanitarian access to guarantee that lifesaving support can reach those most in need.”

“New IRC analysis shows that vulnerable people in developing countries hosting the highest refugee populations need an immediate cash boost of $760 million over the next six months to prevent more households from going hungry as a result of the COVID-19-triggered recession. Not only are millions struggling to meet their basic needs, but the long-term negative economic consequences for families, just beginning to make progress, are exponential. Further, we will likely continue to see the number of displaced people grow as developing economies suffer devastating consequences of a global recession, and as government donors like the U.S. are too slow to get financial resources to the frontlines of the Coronavirus.”