3RP partners in Egypt require USD 44m to support national efforts in the response to COVID-19.
As of March 2020, 258,433 refugees and asylum-seekers from 58 different nationalities are registered with UNHCR in Egypt. Syrians remained the largest group with roughly 130,000 refugees, composing 50 per cent of the overall refugee and asylum-seeker population.
The majority of refugees and asylum-seekers in Egypt prior to the outbreak of COVID19 were already very vulnerable, and therefore started immediately feeling the impact of the changed environment. Refugees live in urban areas, mostly in overcrowded accommodations with inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene. Amid the Government of Egypt’s (GoE) measures to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, many refugees and asylum-seekers have lost their sources of income. While most of refugees and asylum-seekers are spending the cash in hand on basic supplies, 3RP appealing partners are joining efforts to enable refugees to meet their basic needs, including their access to hygiene items.
Concerns are also growing over the ability of refugees and asylum-seekers to pay rent and housing costs in the next months. In the current circumstances, UASC and ageing-out UASC are becoming more vulnerable and destitute, and cases of SGBV and vulnerabilities of other groups will potentially increase. Therefore, 3RP partners continue to provide case management and protection services for UASC who are struggling to keep up with rising needs. This is partially done through remote working modalities. Furthermore, SGBV risks are likely to be further exacerbated during the current crisis, and the already overstretched housing assistance services will be unable to provide safe shelter to all survivors in need. Elderly people and persons with special needs and medical conditions will be among the most affected groups.
In addition, the Government of Egypt has suspended its application procedures for residence permits for refugees and asylum-seekers which also added to the anxiety among refugees and asylum-seekers. In addition, refugees and asylum seekers with expired UNHCR documents and residency will be impacted by the suspension of registration activities. Similarly, newcomers who will have no access to documentation.
UNHCR continues to advocate with national authorities for tolerance with regards to asylum-seekers and refugees with expired UNHCR cards or residencies and those who do not yet have UNHCR documentation.
Likewise, similar advocacy was undertaken with financial services and other service providers. 3RP partners are closely following that refugees and asylum-seekers continue to have access to public health during this challenging period.