Research Snapshot: The impacts of COVID-19 on humanitarian needs


How do vulnerable crisis-affected populations cope with the impact of the pandemic and COVID-19 preventive policy measures? This study took a multisectoral lens. It generated understanding on how the severity of needs has evolved, and how preventive measures were adopted by communities in seven countries affected by humanitarian crisis.
COVID-19 preventive policies worsen severity of needs Crisis-affected populations remain at serious risk of exclusion from essential services. This study found that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in accessing services, as well as preexisting barriers and underlying vulnerabilities.
Adoption of preventive measures varies widely across countries and sub-groups and in association with a range of factors. The secondary and indirect impacts of public health policies have further increased the severity of needs. Humanitarian actors must coordinate responses to increased needs at all levels.
The indirect impacts of preventive public health policies on vulnerable groups must be considered in future responses.


The onset of the COVID-19, and associated policy response measures, have exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities. There is an increasing need for humanitarian actors to address the unintended negative socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 policy measures, which aggravate poor social and health outcomes, and the severity of multisector humanitarian needs. Understanding the vulnerability of populations prior to COVID-19, the adoption of preventive measures and their multisector impacts in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Iraq, and Libya.
REACH enumerators conducting data collection for the 2019 Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA) in Central African Republic. Field teams directly accessed over 8,000 households for this survey.


An exploratory and statistical analysis of representative household-level data from structured surveys of the Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA) conducted in 2019 and 2020. Background data on each country’s COVID-19 outbreak, policy measures, and related impacts on humanitarian services was also analysed.