EHoA SITUATION OVERVIEW
The number of COVID-19 cases across East & Horn of Africa continues to rise, with the disease now infecting over 39,000 people.
Migrants, including Internally Displaced Persons (IPDs), and similar vulnerable groups are more likely to be disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19, compared to non-migrants. The migration routes taken by migrants and other groups on the move, and displacement settings by nature, are more exposed to conditions in which COVID-19 spreads. A lack of access to clean and sanitary conditions and environments, the poorer and makeshift living circumstances in which these groups find themselves, overcrowding, and an over-representation of pre-existing health issues. Migrants and similar groups often do not have access to national public health services and may not feature in government response plans. Continuing widespread air, land and sea border closures, movement restrictions such as lockdowns and curfews across the region, despite plans to lift some restrictions, are set to be particularly economically and financially devastating for these communities, as the governments seek to bring the pandemic under control. Many of these groups rely on mobility to find work, income and do business, the economic recovery from COVID-19 and a return to ‘normality’ is set to be long. Migrants and similar groups may also not be able to observe some of the strict government measures that may go along with planned the easing of mobility restrictions, such social distancing, and the wearing of masks in a post-COVID era.
Meanwhile, thousands of migrants in East and Horn of Africa remain stranded along migratory routes in the region. A large number are in isolation and quarantine facilities across the region, many in need of testing, access to medical care, non-food items and having other essential basic needs met. Migrants are also disproportionately at risk of experiencing stigma, xenophobia, and being blamed for COVID-19. There is evidence that some migrants have faced physical threats to their safety. The needs of these groups include access to medical care, testing for COVID-19, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), food, water, hygiene, sanitation kits and facilities, and psycho-social support and counselling.
As of July 22, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the region stands at 39,451. 1,323 new cases have been reported in the last day with most new cases reported in Ethiopia (865 daily increase 8.5%), followed by Kenya (397 daily increase 2.9%),
Rwanda (26 daily increase 1.6%), Burundi (10 daily increase 3.0%) and South Sudan (10 daily increase 0.5%). Kenya remains the country with the highest number of confirmed cases in the region at 14,168 (35.9% of total case), followed by Ethiopia 11,072 (28.1%), followed by Djibouti 5,027 (12.7%).
IOM is supporting governments throughout the region respond to COVID-19 in the areas of risk communication, disease surveillance, infection prevention and control, case management, at ‘Points of Entry’ (PoEs), procurement and logistics, among other areas. IOM is advocating for migrants, including IDPs and similar groups to be included in government response to fight COVID-19.
IOM has launched a regional appeal for East & Horn of Africa for $71.6M in April 2020, to meet the many needs of these communities. So far 60% of the required funds have been received.