Coronavirus: How refugee camps and slums are dealing with hygiene
Soap and water are a simple way to disinfect – if you've got them. DW looks at how the coronavirus pandemic has sent NGOs and countries scrambling to keep refugee camps and slums safe and clean.
Yemen is home to roughly 3.6 million internally displaced people. With much of their health and sanitation system destroyed by war, these IDPs are highly vulnerable to coronavirus while living in cramped conditions. Volunteers trained by UNICEF are raising awareness on how to keep the disease from spreading.
Syria faces a similar problem as it enters its tenth year of the war. Millions of Syrians live in refugee camps such as Akrabat camp, near the border with Turkey. To explain to families about the risks of coronavirus, UN workers visit the camps and use handmade puppets to explain the dangers of COVID-19.
The long-term effects of natural disasters are also a factor. In the Philippines, public toilets, like those seen here at an evacuation center in Tacloban City, have become a breeding ground for the virus to spread. Sanitation has become even more crucial. The region has been suffering from the after-effects of Typhoon Haiyan for years.
Some people can’t get access to clean drinking water for weeks in many water-scarce parts of the world. The Gwembe Valley has been deeply affected by the drought for the past two years. UNICEF is currently supporting rehabilitation and drilling of 60 boreholes to enforce hand washing at distribution points during the coronavirus pandemic.
Various water stations have been installed across Kenya's public places to provide access to clean water. In Nairobi, a young boy follows instructions as he is shown how to wash hands properly at a water station in Kibera to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Kafa, a 13 year old girl, returns to her family’s caravan carrying a large plastic container filled with water that she has just collected from a community water point. Refugee women in Jordan’s largest refugee camp are now making locally produced soap using natural materials and giving them away to families in need.
Vulnerable countries are thinking beyond soap and water to other hygienic measures. In India, people are encouraged to stitch masks from home. This also brings in money especially for women living in rural areas. This woman is making face masks at the Bihar center of Goonj, an NGO situated across several states of India undertaking disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and community development.
Volunteers from many physically disabled groups are also becoming actively involved in helping to distribute disinfectants across the city of Dhaka. Roman Hossain distributes disinfectants and informs other members of his community about the importance of washing your hands regularly.
There is an urgent need to reduce the impacts of COVID-19 crisis in Huehuetenango, Guatemala in addition to the already existing food crisis caused by the 2019 drought. Indigenous communities wait every day to collect their food and basic hygiene kits where they also get information and recommendations to prevent COVID-19 in local languages.