UNHCR Ethiopia Weekly Operational Update: 22 May 2020

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Update on COVID-19:

As of 22 May, Ethiopia reported 429 confirmed COVID-19 cases up from 272 reported on 14 May 2020. Overall, 128 patients have recovered while the number of deaths remains at five.
So far, a total of 73,164 people have been tested for COVID-19 compared to 45,278 on 14 May. There are now confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in all regions, except Gambella and Harar.

The refugee camps and other locations sheltering refugees and asylum seekers have so far been spared from the infections. The Agency for Refugees and Returnee Affairs (ARRA),
UNHCR and partners continue to intensify efforts to prevent and limit the potential spread of the corona virus among the over 761,000 refugees in the country. UNHCR is supporting local and regional authorities in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in parts of the country that have been affected by conflict-induced displacement situations.

Prevention and response:

ARRA, UNHCR and other humanitarian actors continue delivering protection and life-saving assistance and key services to refugees, in addition to helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Campaigns informing refugees to wash their hands with soap and practice physical distancing continue - along with efforts to increase the supply of water, soap and handwashing stations. In the Jijiga camps, ARRA continues to raise awareness using loudspeakers mounted on vehicles. Refugees in Aw-barre and Sheder camps are receiving on average 20.5 litres of water per person per day. Additional measures are being taken to further increase the provision of water in all three camps - with the installation of six water tanks provided by UNICEF.

In the Melkadida camps, over 27,000 refugees attended hygiene promotion activities during the week. So far, 9,207 handwashing facilities have been installed in households across the five Refugee Camps in addition to 102 that have been installed in communal structures. UNHCR, with its partners have also installed WASH facilities in the Dollo Ado isolation center and donated office materials to the Dollo Ado and Bokolmanyo Woreda administrations. In addition, UNHCR and ARRA handed over a rented vehicle to the woreda authorities to support their COVID-19 surveillance activities.

Isolation and quarantine centres: Temporary facilities have been designated in each camp to isolate suspected cases of COVID-19, pending their transfer to the Government designated isolation and treatment centers. As most of these spaces are within existing structures, UNHCR, ARRA and other partners have started construction of semi-permanent structures that meet the required standards. Two such facilities are being constructed in Melkadida and Hilaweyn Refugee Camps in the Somali Region with the other three camps expected to follow subject to availability of funds. Similar facilities are also being constructed in Aw-barre and Sheder camps while the one for Kebribeyah camp is in the pipeline. The new structures are being built with a long-term vision of transforming them into training rooms or as additional treatment centers after the COVID-19 emergency. In camps in the Tigray Region, a technical team from ARRA and UNHCR is currently assessing the camp-based isolation and quarantine facilities to identify their capacities, including the number of beds, water and sanitation facilities and other materials that may be needed to adequately prepare for them to be functional.