Somalia

Somalia | COVID-19 Response - As at 28 April 2020

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1 IDP tested positive for COVID-19

2.6 million IDPs live in overcrowded settlements

2.8 million persons of concern

Somalia: 528 confirmed cases and 28 deaths

PoC: 1 IDP confirmed case and 0 deaths

OPERATIONAL CONTEXT

Somalia’s recently recorded increase in cases of local transmission puts UNHCR’s persons of concern, including 2.6 million IDPs, 130,000 Somali refugee returnees, 15,000 asylum-seekers and 14,000 refugees at risk. In particular, the outbreak of COVID-19 in IDP settlements in Somalia, one of the most impoverished and fragile countries in the world, would be catastrophic. UNHCR requires US$ 7 million to scale up the preparedness and response to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on persons of concern.

PROTECTION RISKS

  • Community transmission: Over 2.6 million IDPs live in over 2,100 overcrowded IDP settlements where high population density is a key factor for transmission pathways.

  • Forced displacements: Evictions remain one of the main concerns of internally displaced persons. In the first quarter of the year, 48,000 persons have been forcibly displaced, including 33,000 in Mogadishu.

  • Socio-economic impact: Closures of markets and borders, the Gu rainy season and resulting floods, an impending infestation of desert locusts, a drop in imported food commodities, exports and remittances, have a combined devastating economic impact in Somalia that threatens to undermine the country’s progress of the past decade.

UNHCR RESPONSE

  • Awareness raising: UNHCR reached 150,000 persons with awareness raising activities on how to prevent and response to COVID-19 and plans to reach out to another 280,000 persons. UNHCR also built capacity of 170 IDP settlement leaders who are raising awareness about COVID-19 in their settlements.

  • Basic needs: In Hargeisa, 4,700 asylum-seekers and refugees received four-months cash assistance to meet their basic needs during COVID-19. In addition, UNHCR plans to provide cash assistance to 13,000 vulnerable persons, such as those with underlying illness and the elderly, through the country.

  • CCCM cluster: The cluster is raising awareness on prevention and response to COVID-19 targeting 556,000 IDPs (21 per cent out of total 2.6 million) and reached 95,000 IDPs through site maintenance activities (rehabilitation of community infrastructure) and improved referral pathways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

  • Dignity kits: UNHCR plans to distribute dignitary materials to 4,752 women throughout the country.

  • Emergency shelter: UNHCR will provide emergency shelters to households living in congested IDP settlements. Around 3,630 IDPs will benefit from emergency shelter, which will allow for decongestion.

  • Forced displacements: UNHCR through the Protection Cluster and field offices throughout the country has strongly advocated for a nationwide moratorium on evictions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Hand-washing facilities: UNHCR installed 48 hand-washing facilities in front of hospitals, health centres and reception centres allowing around 1,000 persons washing hands daily to protect themselves and others before entering the facility.

  • Hygiene kits: UNHCR distributed hygiene kits consisting of soap and sanitary products to 41,000 persons and plans to distribute another 54,000 kits to persons of concern to mitigate exposure and spread related to COVID19.

  • PPE: UNHCR started procuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for 780 IDP leaders who will raise awareness on COVID-19 in IDP settlements. In Baidoa, 20 IDPs, refugee returnees and the members of host community started sewing non-surgical face masks for sale. UNHCR will also provide hygiene kits and PPEs to seven hospitals in Berbera, Bosaso, Garoowe, Hargeisa and Mogadishu for medical staff who are providing health care services to 30,000 refugees and asylum-seekers.

  • Protection cluster: The cluster is reinforcing its monitoring in the context of COVID 19, with a questionnaire covering risks which may be triggered or aggravated by COVID 19. The questionnaire includes risks relating to violence, arbitrary limitation of movements, eviction, access to assistance, which will yield highly useful information for adequate response measures.