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East & Horn of Africa COVID-19 Situation Report - #41, 27 January 2021 Update

Situation Report
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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on many more people in the East & Horn of Africa. Migrants, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), are among some of the world’s most vulnerable communities likely to be affected by the disease. Migrant groups and communities are more likely to be exposed to the conditions and circumstances in which COVID-19 spreads, which includes living in poorer and makeshift conditions, or overcrowded settings. Migrant groups are also less likely to have access to medical care and hygiene, and access to COVID-19 preventative measures such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and COVID-19 vaccines.

As a result of the pandemic, thousands of migrants are stranded across the East and Horn of Africa due to movement and mobility restrictions, including air, land and sea border closures, and quarantine rules. Many of these people are in need of food, water, medical assistance, transport, counselling and psycho-social support. Migrants also continue to experience involuntarily return to their countries of origin. Some migrants are experiencing detention and facing abuses in such facilities. Others are facing stigma and xenophobia, resulting from being blamed for the spread of the disease.

There are been 355,055 cases in Eastern Africa (encompassing the Horn of Africa, the island states of Madagascar, Mauritius and the Comoros), including 6,681 deaths, with 290,745 having recovered from COVID-19. New variants of the infection have emerged in Africa as the continent records a new peak in the number of people with COVID-19, since the start of the pandemic. A new distinct Kenya-specific COVID-19 variant different from those found in UK and South Africa was isolated by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri). An average of 25, 223 cases were reported each day between the end of 2020 and 10 January 2021 across the continent, 39% higher than the July 2020 peak of 18,104 average daily cases. (Sources: African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention/World Health Organization).

IOM is supporting governments throughout the region to respond to COVID-19 in the areas of risk communication, disease surveillance, infection prevention and control, case management, ‘Points of Entry’ (PoEs), procurement and logistics, and in other areas. IOM is advocating for migrants, including IDPs to be included in all government responses to COVID-19, including the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines. IOM launched a regional appeal for the East and Horn of Africa for $71.6m in April 2020, to meet the many needs of these communities.

Link to the EHoA COVID-19 appeal document; iom-east-and-horn-africa-strategic-and-preparedness-and-response-plan-covid-19

In August 2020 IOM launched an appeal to specifically respond to the needs of migrants on the ‘Eastern Route’ from the Horn of Africa to Yemen.

Link to the Regional Migrant Response Plan for Horn of Africa and Yemen’ (RMRP) 2020 Appeal:

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