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The Global Crisis of COVID-19: A Comprehensive Response (Fall 2020)

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IRC COVID-19 response report - Fall 2020

The nearly 80 million refugees and displaced people around the world now face an unimaginable double emergency: conflict and displacement, alongside COVID-19 and the global economic crisis it has generated.

The International Rescue Committee’s COVID-19 response is grounded in decades of experience responding to complex health emergencies and disease outbreaks, including Ebola in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo and cholera in Yemen, as well as our global technical expertise in health, education, protection and economic wellbeing in humanitarian settings.

This report provides details of the IRC's coronovirus response as of Fall 2020.

The Global Crisis of COVID-19:

The nearly 80 million refugees and displaced people around the world now face an unimaginable double emergency: conflict and displacement, alongside COVID-19 and the global economic crisis it has generated.

COVID-19 has overwhelmed health systems around the globe and threatens greater devastation as it spreads to fragile and crisis-affected countries. There is a great need to act quickly and mount a robust response while COVID-19 is still in the early stages in these settings. The pandemic is a global threat requiring a global response, but the International Rescue Committee (IRC) understands that the steps to contain it need to be designed locally to mitigate suffering globally.

In the face of an unprecedented threat, governments understandably have followed the models of those countries hit first by COVID-19. Many have swiftly adopted measures like lockdowns and strict travel restrictions. But a one-size-fits-all model does not work. This is especially true in humanitarian settings, which face a “double emergency”: the direct health impact from COVID-19 and its secondary devastation to fragile economic, security and political environments.

In humanitarian contexts, living conditions in developing countries make social distancing nearly impossible. Most people cannot work from home, and governments are unable to provide sufficient relief packages or social safety nets. Sweeping mitigation measures like those undertaken in Italy or the United States are difficult to implement but could cause longer-term and more widespread harm than the disease itself. Already, international and domestic restrictions have slowed the transportation of COVID-19 equipment, halted vaccination campaigns, disrupted supply chains of treatment for malnourished children, and prevented medical staff from being deployed in countries with weaker health systems