Updates on ongoing research on the impact of COVID-19 in crisis-affected countries

May 29, 2020

Statement– As a humanitarian organization deployed, notably via its REACH initiative, in many vulnerable and crisis-affected countries, IMPACT is deeply concerned by the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the millions of affected people we seek to serve. Those who are already facing severe and extreme humanitarian needs risk being made even more vulnerable by the spread of the corona virus. Affected populations find themselves in places that are overcrowded and where public health and other services are already overstretched and have limited capacity. It is therefore of utmost importance to evaluate and monitor the situation of those who are already vulnerable in order to help communities prepare and respond to the ongoing spread of the virus. While a range of measures have previously been taken by IMPACT to protect its IMPACT and REACH staff at country level, and to the best degree possible affected populations too, IMPACT is currently up-scaling its efforts in relation to COVID-19. The goal is to identify practical ways to inform the COVID-19 response in the 20+ countries in which we operate, wherever we can make a difference and wherever information might be required. In practical terms, IMPACT commits to:

  • Leveraging and adapting existing and ongoing research to monitor and inform the humanitarian community about the vulnerability caused by COVID-19 and its impact on affected populations through ad-hoc briefing and analysis products. Many research tools and methodologies for collecting information employed by REACH can be geared to inform the effects of COVID-19 on markets, on the humanitarian situation, and on population movements.
  • Exploring the feasibility of new COVID-19 dedicated activities in each of the countries it operates in depending on the context and the information needs of major aid actors seeking to respond.

Read IMPACT’s proposition for “Adapting REACH programming to support COVID-19 evidence based response” for information on the contribution of IMPACT and REACH in informing, preparing, and sharing information on the spread of the new coronavirus in humanitarian settings.
All updates regarding our activities in relation to COVID-19 are posted in a dedicated thread below.
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IMPACT Initiatives, through REACH, rolls out 3 sets of activities to prepare and inform affected populations on COVID-19 related risks

Humanitarian actors are scaling up and reprogramming their activities in response to COVID-19, both in country and at the global level. As they do so, they are finding themselves in an unfamiliar territory, lacking the required tools and information for planning their response to the pandemic. In this context, up-to-date data collection efforts and analysis are critical to ensure humanitarian action is targeted effectively and the most vulnerable populations prioritized in the COVID-19 response. In particular, data and analysis will be needed to ensure new regions or countries affected by this crisis are monitored closely and the necessary action is up-scaled as required. In many countries IMPACT, notably through its REACH initiative, has been contacted to provide this support.  In response, throughout its 25 countries of operations IMPACT has adapted its programming, scaling up remote data collection and analysis in order to provide an evidence base for humanitarian response planning to COVID-19.

Read the full plan in the original proposition on the IMPACT Initiatives website


29/05 – Yemen – Third round of market monitoring shows vendors are not struggling to build supply, yet price inflation remains an issue

See earlier update from Yemen on the second round of the Joint Market Monitoring Initiative published on 07/05.

Since September 2018, REACH, in collaboration with the WASH cluster, and the Cash and Market Working group in Yemen, has been collecting monthly information on market systems including price levels and supply chains. The goal of this Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI) is to support humanitarian actors with the harmonization of price monitoring among all cash actors in Yemen.

With the current global COVID-19 pandemic, REACH has adapted the JMMI to begin assessing the potential impact of the pandemic on markets and on businesses.

The JMMI also continues to collect price data for fuel, water, and hygiene products, including all the component of the WASH Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB).

In addition, new indicators specific to the COVID-19 crisis and its potential impact on markets are now being tracked on a bi-weekly basis.

The JMMI sources its information from 202 Key Informants spread out across 45 districts in 14 different Governorates.

Among the key findings for the period covering 10-14 May:

  • Price inflation was reported as the top economic constraint for fuel vendors (50%), WASH & NFI vendors (60%), and finally water trucking vendors (47%);
  • Certain governorates experienced a significant spike in the median prices of commodities, such as Taizz (+113%), and Sana’a City (+92%) since April;
  • 93% of vendors assessed did not report any added difficulty acquiring goods due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

For the complete set of key findings, as well as in-depth analysis, please feel free to download the Joint Market Monitoring Initiative fact-sheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/e35df9ec/REACH_YEM_JMMI_Situation-Overview_May-Round-1-2020.pdf

 


28/05 – Democratic Republic of Congo – Monitoring market trends to inform an effective cash-based response

Version française de la mise à jour ci-dessous téléchargeable ici: RDC.Update.28-05.FR

See previous update from DRC on the rapid market assessment conducted in several key border cities in the east of the country, including the city of Goma in the North-Kivu province published on 14/05.

With 15.6 million people in dire need of protection and humanitarian assistance, the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to witness one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world.

Recent market assessments conducted by REACH in DRC have highlighted the extent to which the implementation of prevention measures against COVID-19 has already hampered market functionality, created issues in re-stocking and supply, and reduced demand for certain goods due to reported price increases in areas such as Goma and Uvira in the Northern and Southern Kivu provinces.

In order to further understand how Congolese markets are affected by the current health crisis and to provide evidence for cash and voucher assistance actors to respond effectively, REACH published a report compiling the most recent data and information available on market trends.

Extracting information from various actors involved in market monitoring in the country, such as the DRC Cash Working Group, the Food Security Cluster, WFP, FEWS NET, CAID, Mercy Corps, and others (see full report available in FR), the report monitors the evolution of the price of the Minimum Food Basket, which contains the set of food items required for a 6 person household to meet their needs during a month. The report also compiles information on the availability and affordability of other essential non-food items, such as water and fuel.

Among the key findings

  • A month after the adoption of COVID-19 preventive measures, the vast majority of vendors report a decrease in the demand of food and non-food items due to the increases in price;
  • The area of origin of items, and supply issues are among the key factors influencing price developments. This is compounded by movement restriction within DRC territory as well as the depreciation of the Congolese franc;
  • The impact of the factors listed above need to be monitored closely in the near future as data so far showed great discrepancies in the price of the SMEB across the 422 market assessed.
  • The price of the Minimum Food Basket varies anywhere between 80,000 and 400,000 Congolese Francs, highlighting the volatility of prices in certain areas, notable in the Ituri province, Central Kasaï, and High Katanga.

For a detailed break-down of key findings related to markets across the country, please feel free to download the full report: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/8651724f/REACH_DRC_Bulletin-conjoint-des-march%C3%A9s_Mai-2020.pdf

 


27/05 – Syria – Surveying communities’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices related to COVID-19 in Northern Syria

See earlier update from the multi-sectoral rapid needs assessment conducted in northeast Syria and published on 05/05.

Syria reported its first case of COVID-19 on 22 March 2020, and as of this week had 47 cases and 3 fatalities. It is possible that this number is under-reported given the limited testing capacities in-country.

An outbreak in overcrowded camps, sites, and communities would be disastrous in a humanitarian context already characterized by mass displacement, economic volatility, and a health system weakened from years of conflict.

Previous REACH rapid assessments have shown that preventive measures were put in place in the northern parts of the country as early as March. Preparatory measures have focused on prevention, as a shortage of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and isolation units will make treatment difficult in the case of an outbreak. In the Syrian context therefore, the effective transmission of reliable and critical information to communities is key for protecting them from infection.

Little is known about how preventive measures are impacting the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) of the Syrian population. Previous KAP assessments led by UNHCR in March found that about half of the respondents reported having moderate to severe stress or feelings of helplessness towards COVID-19. More information on KAP was needed in Syria to better understand the effects of preventive measures, and to design appropriate risk communication campaigns.

Based on this information gap, REACH developed a KAP survey to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices of Syrians in the north.

Among the key findings:

Northeast Syria

  • 45% of respondents incorrectly reported that everyone who gets COVID-19 shows symptoms
  • Nearly 60% of respondents indicated that COVID-19 is generating discrimination among specific population groups
  • 65% of respondents reported that a lack of money prevented them from purchasing hygiene items, whilst another 51% reported that they could not stop engaging in work, preventing them from undertaking preventive measures.

Northwest Syria

  • Most respondents knew that elderly populations are the most likely to contract COVID-19, but did not know that adults are more likely to become seriously ill than children
  • A little over half of the respondents did not know that COVID-19 carriers can be asymptomatic
  • The most reported barriers for respondents to partake in preventive action was their inability to stop working because of the need for money (55%), and the lack of money to buy hygiene items (61%).

Making sure affected populations in northern Syria access accurate information and adopt best practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is of utmost importance for a community that is already vulnerable to the shocks of a pre-existing crisis.

For the full picture, with more key findings and in-depth analysis, please feel free to download the report directly on the REACH Resource Centre:

Northeast Syria- https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/b6420c5f/REACH_SYR_Factsheet_SYR2009_NES_19MAY20.pdf

Northwest Syria- https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/2954a6a3/REACH_SYR_Factsheet_SYR2009_NWS_19MAY20.pdf

 


26/05 – Somalia – Mapping the severity of risks for communities vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19

Somalia has been experiencing a complex and protracted humanitarian crisis over the past three decades, affecting over 5 million people. Insecurity and conflict continue to exacerbate the effects of natural shocks that occur periodically, such as droughts and flooding.

From 20-23 April rains triggered flash floods across several regions, affecting over half a million people. Somalia is also still working to contain whilst simultaneously recovering from a desert locust infestation, with the FAO reporting that the situation remained alarming as of May 4.

With a healthcare system that is largely reliant on humanitarian funding to operate, and that has low capacity for testing the population at a national scale, targeting the most vulnerable communities and taking into account the specific risks they incur is of utmost importance. To assist the planning and prioritization of response for communities most at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, REACH published two maps highlighting the different levels of access to water, hand-washing facilities and healthcare for displaced and non-displaced populations across the country.

The data was sourced from the REACH Joint-Multi Cluster Needs Assessment 2019, a nation-wide statistically representative household survey of over 10,000 households, and other assessments.

To view the full maps, please feel free to access them directly on the resource centre or click the links below:

COVID-19 composite severity map – People In Need : https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/278083c0/REACH_SOM_Map_Somalia_STM_PiN_-WASH_composite_13MAY2020_A4.pdf

COVID-19 WASH severity score map: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/b062bd41/REACH_SOM_Map_Somalia_STM_Severity_-WASH_composite_13MAY2020_A4.pdf

 


25/05 – Central African Republic – Analyzing data on COVID-19 related vulnerabilities for communities living in hard-to-reach areas

Mise à jour en français téléchargeable ici: RCA-Update.25.05.FR

See earlier update from the Market Monitoring assessment conducted in CAR published on 27/04.

The Central African Republic (CAR) is home to the third largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Over half of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance, and 1.7 million people are in a severely precarious situation. Combined with the extremely limited amount of paved roads, and functional infrastructure generally, Central Africans continue to endure the many nefarious effects of a complex and severe humanitarian crisis. The lack of reliable and up to date information is also one of the main challenges faced by the humanitarian community operating in CAR.

This is especially true for communities living in hard-to-reach areas in CAR as they are further deprived of access to essential services, and require acute attention.

Since the end of April 2020 a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 infection cases has been observed, mostly pouring in from Cameroon along commercial pathways.

For these reasons it is essential for humanitarian actors to plan response to a potential localised epidemic according to reliable data and evidence, in particular in border regions with Cameroon and Chad, where humanitarian access is limited and an epidemic could spread.

Against this backdrop, and under the existing coordination framework on hard-to-reach humanitarian situation monitoring between REACH and the Assessment and Information Management Working Group, REACH sought to highlight specific indicators relevant to the COVID-19 response, in places where needs are the most severe and populations most at risk.

This first round of COVID-19 specific indicators output sourced its information from the January 2020 data collection, comprising of a total of 234 interviews conducted in 146 different areas.

Among the key findings:

  • Key Informants in 79% of assessed areas reported that the level of access to healthcare was insufficient for the majority of the population;
  • In 82% of assessed areas Key Informants reported that the access to water to cover basic needs was also insufficient;
  • The risk of overcrowding is very real for returned and repatriated populations in 25% of assessed areas where they currently live in emergency make-shift shelters.

To access the full picture with all key-findings and analysis, please download the fact-sheet online: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/17ac42ce/REACH_CAR_Factsheet_H2R-Indicateurs-Pertinents-COVID-19_January-2020.pdf

 


22/05 – Uganda – Monitoring markets in refugee settlements to assess the impact of COVID-19

Uganda is one of the top refugee-hosting countries in the world, with a protracted refugee situation and ongoing influxes of refugees from neighboring countries totaling more than 1.4 million as of February 2020. Nearly 94% of refugees in Uganda live in settlements in the West Nile and Southwest regions.

Due to the changing situation since the Ugandan government introduced COVID-19 containment measures in mid-March 2020, there is a risk that markets could be significantly affected and beneficiaries receiving cash assistance may not be able to afford critical goods.

Against this backdrop, the Market Analysis Task Force of the Uganda Cash Working Group, with support from REACH through the UKaid-funded U-LEARN consortium, launched a market monitoring assessment in refugee hosting districts nationwide in order to understand the impact of COVID-19 on affordability of basic items, as well as on market functionality.

In collaboration with WFP, 194 traders nationwide, with 55 in the Southwest region and 139 in the West Nile region, were interviewed as part of the assessment.

Closely monitoring trends in the affordability and accessibility of core goods and services is critical to ensure that affected populations can meet their basic needs and humanitarian actors have the information required to provide the necessary assistance.

Among the key findings:

  • Some commodities experienced a nationwide increase in price since March, such as milk (+100%), grains (sorghum +50%, maize +30%), and laundry soap (+65%);
  • The price of certain items spiked in certain settlements in the West Nile region, such as cooking salt in Adjumani (+133%), beans in Palorinya (+100%), and maize flour in Imvepi (+67%);
  • 66% of all vendors assessed nationwide reported a decrease in the number of vendors in marketplaces;
  • 55% of all vendors assessed in the Southwest region reported difficulties in obtaining enough supply to meet demand;
  • 55% of all vendors assessed nationwide reported concern that their stocks will run out within one week following data collection;
  • Only 19% of traders in West Nile region reported accepting mobile money payments, compared to 58% of traders in the Southwest region;
  • The top challenges reported by traders were lack of customers (26%) and public and private transport restrictions limiting access to markets (25%).

For more information on the assessment, as well as the detailed set of key findings, please feel free to download the fact-sheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/5663ff5b/REACH_UGA_COVID-19-Market-Monitoring-Snapshot_April2020.pdf

Given the pace of events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency of the situation, compounded by potential long-term negative impacts, market monitoring methodologies must adapt and overcome barriers to maintain a steady and reliable flow of information. REACH recently published a guidance document on what this process entails. The document is available for download on the REACH Resource Centre: https://www.reachresourcecentre.info/toolkit/programmes/.

At the request of the Ugandan Ministry of Health, IMPACT through U-LEARN, has launched a mapping exercise to identify which partners are doing what, where and when to support COVID-19 national response. The information will be shared with all actors in the response to support coordination and tracking of the national response plan progress. U-LEARN is also planning to provide other forms of assessment and GIS support to the Ministry of Health, as well as to the refugee response.

Updates, key findings, and information from the mapping activities will be posted here as soon as they are available.

 


20/05 – Bangladesh – Monitoring market dynamics in Cox’s Bazar with quantitative and qualitative data collection

See earlier update on mapping COVID-19 risk factors for refugees in Cox’s Bazar published on 14/04.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government in Bangladesh announced its country-wide shut down at the end of March 2020. Similar measures were announced in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district in the country’s south. The camps currently host an estimated 855,000 refugees and 73% of households’ report relying on purchased foods as a main source of food (2019 J-MSNA).

Following the rapid imposition of preventative measures, a number of impacts on market functionality can be anticipated. Such impacts must be understood and analyzed in order to be able to support vulnerable households, both vendors and customers, during these times of economic uncertainty.

In light of this REACH implemented a qualitative survey across Cox’s Bazar District to understand how market dynamics, supply chains and demand for goods in host communities are being affected by the COVID-19 outbreak from a vendor perspective.

In addition, in April 2020, REACH launched a Market Monitoring Initiative (MMI) in the Rohingya refugee camps with the aim to track market supplies, stocks and prices of selected food and non-food items as well as potential effects on basic market functionality of the COVID-19 outbreak and associated social control measures in camps. Data will be collected on a biweekly basis and trends analysed, in order to inform COVID-19 response.

Both activities were coordinated through the response’s Transfers Working Group and the Food Security Sector, with the host community qualitative vendor survey designed to complement regular market monitoring activities conducted by WFP VAM in the covered sub-districts.

 

The qualitative vendor study across Cox’s Bazar district revealed that:

  • While government-enforced market restrictions may have led to reduced market functionality in traditional markets, some vendors reported new informal behaviours, such as an increase in informal vendors and the repurposing of public areas as makeshift market spaces. Respondents suggested that most new vendors are day labourers who had recently lost their sources of income.
  • Restocking and transportation concerns were commonly discussed by some but not all vendors.
  • Vendors reported a noticeable increase in customers requesting to purchase items on loan or credit, and suggested that the lack of income is not only driven by local restrictions but may be a particular concern for families who rely on remittances from those working abroad, especially in the Middle East.

The first two rounds of quantitative market monitoring in Rohingya refugee camps showed that:

  • Prices of tracked commodities have so far remained stable, stocks available and restocking periods largely within 3 days.
  • Despite reporting the ability to restock at short notice, half of KIs reported facing difficulties resupplying stocks since COVID-19 restrictions have been enforced.
  • Most vendors reported the number of customers and income to have decreased throughout both rounds of data collection. Between a third and a fourth of vendors reported witnessing of customers stockpiling items.

To read the full qualitative vendor study, including more key findings and testimonies from key informants, please feel free to download the report online: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/a796688b/REACH_BGD_COVID-19-Qualitative-Vendor-Surveys_May2020-1.pdf

Summary factsheets including more information and key findings from the MMI can be found here: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/5dd7946a/BGD2002-COVID-19-Market-Monitoring-Initiative-%E2%80%93-Factsheet.pdf


15/05 – Ukraine – Drop in nitrogen dioxide emissions in the East due to quarantine measures in response to COVID-19

Since 2019, IMPACT under the ACTED led 3P (Prevent, Prepare and Protect) consortium which includes the Red Cross and Right to Protection NGO have been working on reducing disaster risk vulnerabilities in Eastern Ukraine.

This program has leveraged IMPACT’s expertise in geographic information system (GIS) to understand risk at the local level by developing area-based risk assessments (ABRA) covering both natural and man-made hazards. One of the components of this disaster risk reduction and environment research uses remote sensing to measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration in the atmosphere using satellite data from the European Union Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel 5P mission to monitor the presence of this hazardous gas produced by the burning of fossil fuels.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Ukrainian government imposed rapid self-isolation measures on the 14th of March 2020. As in all COVID affected countries these measures have had significant impacts on the economy, including the smooth functioning of industry. The eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are historically industrial areas with significant proportions of employment coming from this sector.

Using remote sensing, IMPACT was able to measure a 14% decrease in the concentration of NO2 in the Donetsk oblast, highlighting an overall drop in industrial output from the region that will have lasting consequences on the socioeconomic well-being of Donetsk residents.

In 2020, IMPACT will use remote sensing data collection to inform disaster risk reduction, and environmental programming, in times of COVID-19 recovery.

Please feel free to download the map directly on your browser by following this link: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/27d5451c/REACH_UKR_map_EastUkraine_NO2drop_11MAY2020_A3.pdf

 


15/05 – Nigeria – A month of hard-to-reach assessments in Borno state show continued lack of access to healthcare

See earlier update from the first assessment conducted in hard to reach areas in Borno published on 11/04.

Previous REACH assessments have highlighted the extent to which the conflict in Northeast Nigeria continues to have severe consequences for people remaining in hard to reach areas.

Building an effective response in these areas can be particularly difficult for aid actors, and as such the delivery of reliable information on the needs of affected populations isolated in Borno state is crucial.

People displaced in hard to reach areas of Borno state who are already facing severe and extreme humanitarian needs risk are even more vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, especially given that hard to reach areas in Borno state have limited to no health care services or WASH infrastructure.

To ensure that the humanitarian response integrates the needs of populations in H2R areas, REACH monitored COVID-19 risk related indicators through multi-sector interviews in accessible Local Government Areas (LGA) with directly with Key Informants (KI).

During the month of April, a total of 416 KI interviews were conducted in over a hundred settlements.

Among the key findings:

  • 92% of assessed settlements reported having no access to a functional health facility
  • Among the Key Informants that had left a H2R area within the last month, 77% reported that they were asked to wash and sanitise their hands upon arriving at the IDP camp
  • However, only 3% reported that their temperature was measured when they arrived at the camp
  • 91% of assessed settlements reported most people had difficulty accessing information they needed regarding humanitarian assistance. This suggests options to communicate with people in H2R areas are incredibly limited, preventing the dissemination of information and recommendations on COVID-19.

In conclusion, findings from the two assessments conducted in April show that communities in H2R areas in Borno are at a higher risk of infection in the event of a local COVID-19 outbreak, and the limited means to communicate preparation and prevention measures, for example, is likely to compound this issue as well.

For more information, please download the two fact-sheets from the assessments conducted in H2R areas in Borno state:

April 1-15: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/0c993cca/REACH_NGA_April1-15_Factsheet_H2R_Covid19.pdf

April 16-30: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/faf4acd9/REACH_NGA_April16-30_Factsheet_H2R_Covid19.pdf

 


14/05 – Democratic Republic of Congo – Market assessment conducted in Goma shows vendors face difficulties replenishing stock

Version française de la mise à jour téléchargeable ici: DRC.Update.14.05.FR

See earlier update from DRC on the Rapid Market Assessment conducted in Uvira, South Kivu Province published on 23/04.

With 15.6 million people in dire need of protection and humanitarian assistance, the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to witness one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world.

The implementation of prevention measures against a COVID-19 outbreak in DRC could have significant harmful effects on the formal and informal economy of the country, impacting vast amounts of people who participate and rely on the capacity of markets to function effectively.

To inform cash-based humanitarian actors, and in collaboration with the Food Security Cluster as well as the Cash Working Group, REACH led a rapid market assessment in several key border cities in the east of the country, including the city of Goma in the North-Kivu province. The data was collected through 36 surveys delivered to food and non-food vendors. Interviewees were asked about questions relating to the impact of COVID-19 on stock capacity, market functionality, and other key indicators to inform an evidence-base response to potential shocks.

Among the key-findings:

  • 24% of interviewees said that the market could not currently meet demand.
  •  86% of vendors assessed reported facing difficulties to replenish their stock. This is due to a lack of income, movement restrictions, as well as supply issues with neighboring countries.
  • Food vendors reported the median number of days of stocks for staple goods such as cereals was 6 days, and only 3 days for fruit and vegetables.
  • The majority of vendors reported expecting moderate to high increases in the price of most goods as long as COVID-19 prevention measures are in place.

For more information on the assessment, as well as the detailed set of key findings, please feel free to download the report (available in FR): https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/82ca4db4/REACH_DRC_Factsheet_Evaluation-rapide-des-march%C3%A9s-de-Goma_Avril-2020.pdf

Given the pace of events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency of the situation, compounded by potential long-term negative impacts, market monitoring methodologies must adapt and overcome barriers to maintain a steady and reliable flow of information. REACH recently published a guidance document on what this process entails. The document is available for download on the REACH Resource Centre: https://www.reachresourcecentre.info/toolkit/programmes/

 


14/05 – Niger – A difficult situation for migrants and refugees stranded in Agadez and exposed to a potential COVID-19 outbreak

Une version française de la mise à jour est téléchargeable ici: 14.05.NER.Update.FR

The spread of COVID-19 has had a profound impact on human mobility. Whilst a global pandemic arguably affects all population groups, irrespective of nationality or socio-economic background, we do know that in many contexts refugees and migrants will be disproportionately affected by the virus, and its aftermath.  A REACH assessment conducted in Agadez found evidence for this statement and shed light on the difficult situation faced by refugees and migrants currently stranded in Niger.

The rapid assessment is based on a review of secondary data and complemented by 10 structured key informant (KI) interviews, and informal consultations with members of the humanitarian community, all in the framework of the Migration Working Group.

Transiting through the north, the communities assessed have been either expelled from neighboring Algeria or are fleeing insecurity in Libya. Others have arrived from West Africa, or the greater Sudanese region. For the estimated 2,300 migrants currently stranded in Niger, according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there is little choice between resuming their migratory pathway, in often dangerous conditions, or to wait for their repatriation and resettlement in the increasingly crowded transit centres, as well as the often ill-equipped isolation sites in Agadez.

While assistance is available, there seems to be a lack of clarity on the size of needs and gaps in the current response.

The assessment therefore highlights a series of key priorities for the response to effectively address the vulnerabilities of migrants and refugees:

  • Health infrastructure, personnel and supplies are generally reported as insufficient to respond both to the increased number of refugees and migrants stranded in Niger and a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in the region.
  • The quantity of humanitarian assistance seems to be generally insufficient to respond to the needs of the migrant population in these sites, particularly regarding food assistance, shelter and non-food items (NFIs).
  • Key informants reported that many refugees and migrants are in need of protection and psycho-social support.

For a detailed break-down of key findings in the various transit centres and isolation sites assessed by REACH in Agadez, as well as sectoral analysis of the needs of migrants and refugees, please feel free to download the freshly published briefing note: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/4df4ea5e/REACH_Briefing-Note_COVID-Migration_Agadez_eng.pdf

 


13/05 – South Sudan – Mapping inter-sectoral vulnerabilities related to COVID-19 in Juba city

See previous update from South Sudan on the “Trends in Communications Preferences and Modalities” report to support aid actors in engaging effectively with affected communities, published on 02/04

Five years of civil war in South Sudan has led to large-scale internal displacement and refugee outflow to neighbouring Sudan and Uganda, and has largely deteriorated food security conditions for the entire country. Over 3.6 million people are estimated to be displaced, including 1.4 million internally, and 2.2 million refugees. In addition, South Sudan is hosting nearly 300,000 refugees from Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia and CAR. Over 4.5 million South Sudanese are likely to face acute food insecurity in 2020, with more than 3.5 million in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and nearly 1 million in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

Any outbreak of COVID-19 in South Sudan is expected to further limit food production and severely reduce access to humanitarian assistance and livelihood coping strategies. The deteriorated humanitarian situation will be compounded by low access to healthcare services, and a generally weakened national economy.

In order to inform the COVID19 response in South Sudan and in particularly in Juba city, REACH produced a participatory map that presents a number of inter-sectoral indicators to identify area of concern, including population density, socioeconomic conditions, and access to markets and water.

This map is a first step towards gaining a better understanding of the specific COVID-10 related vulnerabilities in Juba city.

Among the key findings:

  • Certain areas of Juba suffer from a high inter-sectoral vulnerability score, notably in the north of the city.
  • The same areas in the north also have the highest estimated population density and biggest levels of congestion.
  • In the north and east of the city, communities suffer from a high rate of unemployment and low income.

To download the map, feel free to access the following link: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/1a683778/REACH_SSD_Map_AoK_Juba_City_Inter-Sectoral_Vulnerabilities_Participatory_05MAY2020_A2.pdf

 


12/05 – Data Collection Guidance – IMPACT publishes Standard Operating Procedures for data collection during the pandemic

Given the potentially devastating consequences of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations in crisis-affected countries, IMPACT Initiatives, via REACH, has mobilised its teams globally to support planning and coordination by humanitarian and other relevant actors responding to the spread of COVID-19.

Seeing as the rapid spread of the disease globally is linked to the ease of human to human infection, and coupled with the conditions in which humanitarians normally conduct data collection activities, adapting data collection methodologies has become of utmost importance.

IMPACT Initiatives, with inputs and support from WHO and Global Health Cluster colleagues, has developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to guide research teams on how to undertake data collection during the COVID-19 outnreak.

The content within the SOPs have been structured in four sections in line with the decision tree below:

Looking at these crucial questions, the SOPs provide guidance on the following objectives:

  1. Assessing risks associated with data collection during COVID-19
  2. Deciding on the type of data collection based on risk assessment
  3. Measures to be taken for face-to-face data collection during COVID-19
  4. Considerations for remote data collection during COVID-19.

Feel free to download the SOPs on the REACH Resource Centre, where they have been made publicly available for the humanitarian community to inform themselves and contribute to this topical and ongoing discussion: https://www.reachresourcecentre.info/toolkit/data-collection-processing/

 


07/05 – Ukraine – Second health facility assessment conducted in Eastern Ukraine highlights urgent need for PPE

See earlier update from the first Rapid Health Facility Assessment published on 21/04.

Entering its 7th year, the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine has left 3.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. The crisis has significantly disrupted the delivery and access of two critical services in Donetsk and Luhansk regions: healthcare and water supply.

These two services represent lifelines during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, the significant drop in economic and social activity as result of lock-down measures has already eroded the economic security and the mental well-being of populations that have been living for years in conflict.

The outbreak of coronavirus in Ukraine, with more than 5,710 confirmed cases as of April 20th, 2020, is likely to significantly affect a weakened healthcare system and a highly vulnerable population living in eastern Ukraine.

To inform humanitarian programs responding the COVID-19 crisis, REACH launched a Rapid Health Facilities Assessment (RaHFA) in Donetsk and Luhansk (Government-Controlled Areas), developed in coordination with the Health and WASH clusters in order to evaluate health facility readiness and identify current health-related needs at the facility level.

The RaHFA findings show that most health service providers in Donetsk & Luhansk Oblasts face challenges concerning COVID-19:

  • The limited availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and a high proportion of facilities (89%) reporting suspected cases means a large number of healthcare workers and patients could be at risk of infection.
  • Only 33% facility Key Informants reported that facilities screened suspected cases before entering the facility.
  • 60% of facility Key Informants reported improper infectious waste disposal practices at their facility.

For the complete set of key findings from the Donetsk and Luhansk oblast, feel free to download the rapid health facility assessment fact-sheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/c318fdc8/REACH_UKR_Situation_Overview_RaHFA_April-2020.pdf

 


07/05 – Yemen – Second round of market monitoring shows vendors struggle due to price inflation and supply issues

See earlier update from 22/04 on the first round of the Joint Market Monitoring Initiative.

Since September 2018, REACH, in collaboration with the WASH cluster, and the Cash and Market Working group in Yemen, has been collecting monthly information on market systems including price levels and supply chains. The goal of this Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI) is to support humanitarian actors with the harmonization of price monitoring among all cash actors in Yemen.

With the current global COVID-19 pandemic, REACH has adapted the JMMI to begin assessing the potential impact of the pandemic on markets and on businesses.

The JMMI also continues to collect price data for fuel, water, and hygiene products, including all the component of the WASH Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB).

In addition, new indicators specific to the COVID-19 crisis and its potential impact on markets are now being tracked on a bi-weekly basis.

Among the key findings:

  • There have reportedly been minimal store closures in the two weeks prior to data collection.
  • The price of treated water continues to rise.
  • Many vendors are experiencing issues with price inflation.
  • Vendors reported supply issues as the top COVID-19 related constraint.

For the complete set of key findings, as well as in-depth analysis, please feel free to download the Joint Market Monitoring Initiative fact-sheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/50c31afb/REACH_YEM_JMMI_Situation-Overview_April-Round-2-2020.pdf


06/05 – Nigeria – COVID-19 geared needs and vulnerability assessment in Maiduguri, Borno State

The escalation of conflict in northeast Nigeria keeps fuelling the growth of informal settlements in Maiduguri urban areas, leading to more pressure on already strained basic services. The combination of sub-standard living conditions in these areas and ongoing urban displacement is likely to put populations in informal neighbourhoods at higher risks of the spread of COVID-19.

As the humanitarian community in Borno state is preparing to respond to the potential spread of the pandemic among populations in need in camp settings, there is an urge to consider the risk posed by the virus in urban settings where humanitarian actors are less used to operating.

People living in informal urban settlements in Maiduguri are particularly vulnerable to the potential spread of COVID-19, residing in often overcrowded and under-serviced yet interconnected areas.

The COVID-19 response must consequently better reflect a local understanding of the vulnerabilities that characterize informal settlements in Maiduguri, and local responses have to be shaped with local actors.

It is in this context that the Nigeria’s AGORA team has produced a COVID-19 factsheet from data collected as part of the “From response to resilience” programme, implemented by a consortium with IMPACT, ACTED and IRC. These data were collected as part of an area-based approach to system strengthening for disaster risk reduction, durable solutions for dis­placement, and urban resilience for communities in Maiduguri.

Among the key findings:

  • In all the focus-group discussions held, participants reported that access to water was the main issue;
  • Less than of households assessed reported using soap and water for hand-washing;
  • Key Informants (KIs) revealed that there was no public or private hospital in 4 neighbourhoods assessed.

 

For the full set of key findings, as well as in-depth analysis, please feel free to download the fact-sheet directly: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/58433cc6/AGORA_NGA_Factsheet_Needs-and-Vulnerability-Assessment-COVID-19-Indicators-Maiduguri_April-2020.-1.pdf

 


05/05 – Northeast Syria – Assessing multi-sectoral needs for affected populations in northeast Syria, including in informal settlements

See earlier updates from our market monitoring assessments in northern Syria published on 30/04 and earlier update from a rapid needs assessment conducted in northwest Syria published on 06/04.

Humanitarian organizations have warned that a possible COVID-19 outbreak in northeast Syria would have grave and severe consequences. To date, there has been one reported fatality from COVID-19 in northeast Syria with two additional cases confirmed in Al-Hasakeh city on 30 April.

In an area that has experienced protracted instability and displacement, the provision of key services and infrastructure in northeast Syria has become increasingly challenging. There are major deficiencies in the health system, with many health facilities no longer functioning, and those that do struggle to respond to medical needs of the population.

The large number of Internally Displaced Persons within northeast Syria placed additional strain on existing key yet fragile systems.

To provide essential information on awareness and on preventive and response capacities in communities across northeast Syria, REACH conducted a rapid needs assessment focused on COVID-19 in 492 locations, interviewing an average of 3 Key Informants (KIs) in each area.

Among the key findings:

  • Only a third of KIs reported that everyone in their community had received information about COVID-19, and how to protect themselves and the community.
  • KIs in 102 assessed communities (>20%) reported that there was no functional health facility within a one-hour walking distance.
  • Functioning markets were reportedly open only partially in 288 assessed communities (59%). The absence of alternatives to markets for food provision was reported in 370 assessed communities.
  • Adequate access to hand-washing facilities and access to soap and hygiene items were reportedly not guaranteed in all assessed locations, with 7% of KIs reporting that nobody had access to a functioning handwashing facility, and another 18% of KIs reported that less than half of the population had access to such facilities.

For the full set of key findings on the impact of COVID-19 in northeast Syria, please feel free to download the information product online: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/3d6d5dfe/REACH_SYR_Factsheet_COVID-19-Rapid-needs-assessment-in-northeast-Syria_April2020.pdf

Populations living in informal settlements and collective centers in northeast Syria have also been highlighted by the humanitarian community as a particular concern. Changing areas of influence, as well as economic instability have shaped the context of many areas in the region. On top of this, informal settlements are often densely populated and with inadequate household water and sanitation, and limited access to formal health care facilities: two aggravating factors for the risks linked to COVID-19.

To ensure that the needs of this population group particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 are taken into account, REACH profiled 98 informal settlements in Ar-Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor governorates and Menbij sub-district, through its extensive network of Key Informants in the region.

Among the key findings:

  • KIs reported that medical care is a priority need in 57% of assessed settlements.
  • There was reportedly no access to income in 16% of assessed settlements.
  • In Menbij, 100% of settlements reportedly needed new tents.
  • Residents reportedly did not have enough food to meet their needs in 76% of assessed settlements, representing approximately 40,000 people.

For the full report, including multi-sectoral key findings from overviews in Ar-Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor and Menbij, fell free to access the link: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/e8d6ea9e/REACH_SYR_NES_Informal_settlement_and_COVID-19_profiles_Apr20.pdf


04/05 – Ukraine – Mapping populations vulnerable to infection, as well as economic impact, of COVID-19 in Eastern Ukraine

See earlier update on Ukraine from 21/04 on the publication of the REACH Rapid Health Facilities Assessment (RaHFA) in Donetsk and Luhansk areas that evaluated health facility readiness and identified health-related needs in the region.

With 12,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and new cases seemingly reaching a plateau, Ukraine appears to have mitigated the first major health impacts of the pandemic by applying quarantine measures from March 14th.

However, after more than 50 days of strict sanitary measures, the Ukraine cabinet of ministers must define a de-confinement strategy that has to carefully consider health measures against economic recovery. This delicate balancing act requires accurate and timely information.

By using granular data at the regional (oblast) or sub-regional level (raion), the government of Ukraine and aid actors can tailor response and recovery activities based on available data to reach the most vulnerable or at-risk areas. To highlight the importance of using geospatial data, IMPACT developed a GIS product to map two vulnerability criteria (age and income) at the level of the 600+ sub-regional administrative units of Ukraine.

The analysis scored all areas using the 33rd and 66th percentiles, looking at low, mid, and high-income areas and low, mid and high proportions of elderly population, effectively highlighting areas that are more or less susceptible to the virus and to its economic repercussions.

The map shows that western and southern Ukraine have more sub regional areas that are younger with lower income, whereas while the central and eastern part have older populations with higher incomes. The eastern conflict-affected regions of Donetsk and Luhansk host five of the eldest and poorest areas with a combined population of 121,000 people that are likely to be more vulnerable to the dual health and economic shock of COVID-19.

To download the map, please click the following link: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/5ba28030/REACH_UKR_map_ukraine_SocioEconomicVulnerabilitySubregionalLevel_22april2020_a3.pd


• Assessments from 16/04 – 30/04 (Updates from Jordan, Syria, Nigeria, Ukraine, Yemen, Libya, Global migration, Central African Republic, DRC, Colombia)

Assessments launched, conducted and published from 16/04 to 30/04 (from most to less recent)


30/04 – Syria – Evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on markets in Northern Syria

See earlier update from a Rapid Needs Assessment conducted in NW Syria published on 06/04.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has raised additional concerns on the humanitarian situation in Northern Syria.

As stated earlier in this thread, REACH has been scaling up its activities in the country and gearing data collection methodologies to monitor specific COVID-19 related indicators and provide the humanitarian community, as well as affected populations in the country, with a data driven evidence base to understand and respond to the impacts of the virus.

In the areas of northeast Syria (NES), typically covered by REACH’s monthly Market Monitoring Exercise, authorities began taking precautions to mitigate the risk of an outbreak, including curfews, shop closures, and movement restrictions.

Meanwhile, very few mitigation measures were reported in the opposition-controlled areas of Northwest Syria (NWS), and markets reportedly continued to function as usual.

Yet border closures or restrictions in neighbouring countries have affected all regions of Syria and have caused concerns on the ability of local markets to respond to this situation and keep functioning effectively.

Due to the lack of detailed, region-specific data about the impact of COVID-19 on markets, REACH launched an assessment in early April 2020 to fill these strategic information gaps, with inputs from the NES and NWS Cash Working Groups and Food Security/Livelihoods Clusters.

The assessment focused on the supply and demand challenges of market vendors, as well as on the availability and prices of key hygiene items. REACH also surveyed communities on the extent of the containment measures imposed on them.

 

Among the key-findings:

In Northeast Syria

  • Vendors faced supply challenges, with 39% of Key Informants (KI) reporting that supply could not keep up with demand.
  • Community members faced new challenges in accessing markets, with 82% of KIs reporting that community members avoided markets for fear of the virus.

In Northwest Syria

  • Prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19 had reportedly not been firmly imposed by local authorities across the assessed sub-districts in the region. In spite of this, 72% of vendor KIs adopted their own containment measures.
  • Vendor KIs reported facing supply challenges, largely due to price inflation. Nearly half of pharmacists also reported having run out of stock in the month before data collection.
  • If supply lines were to be cut, 63% of pharmacists reported that their stock would run out within a week.

For the full set of key-findings, as well as in-depth analysis on market accessibility, functionality, supply and demand, restocking, and self-containment measures taken by vendors in the country, please feel free to download the fresh situation overview: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/f1a41f2f/REACH_SYR_SO_Impact_Covid19_Markets_Northern_Syria_April2020-1.pdf

 


30/04 – Colombia – Monitoring the impact of COVID-19 related measures on local market capacity

Versión en español de la actualización disponible aquí: COL.Update.30.04-Spanish

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Colombia, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection declared a health on 12 March 20202, adopting measures to control the spread of the virus. The next day, the border with Venezuela was closed, and by 24 March all sea, land and river borders were sealed, as well as international flights banned.

In coordination with the Cash Working Group of Colombia, REACH published a rapid market assessment to understand and evaluate the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on local market capacity.

The rapid assessment collected data from the perspective of consumers as well as traders, in order to gain a comprehensive view of the physical and financial barriers to accessing markets, as well as the capacity of local markets to supply basic food and hygiene items.

In total, 528 consumers and 36 vendors from the departments of La Guajira, Arauca, Norte de Santander, Vichada and Atlantico were interviewed as part of the assessment.

Among the key findings:

  • Consumers reported a high level of economic vulnerability since the official quarantine measures against COVID-19 were implemented
  • The majority of consumers interviewed reported that their access to income has decreased since the start of official quarantine measures
  • Both consumers and traders reported an increase in the prices of certain food and non-food items

For an in-depth analysis as well as a breakdown of the main key findings, please feel free to download the Rapid Market Assessment presentatoin (only available in Spanish) : https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/05541a6e/REACH_COL_Presentaci%C3%B3n_RMA_April-2020.pdf

A full situation overview will be published in the coming days, with the full set of key findings from all assessed markets. Please make sure to check back for updates.

 


29/04 – Democratic Republic of Congo – REACH publish market assessment to inform response to COVID-19 and recent floods

Version française de la mise à jour téléchargeable ici: RDC.Update.29/04.FR

With 15.6 million people in dire need of protection and humanitarian assistance, the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to witness one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world. A combination of various shocks, including armed conflict and natural disasters has led to large-scale population movement with over 5 million people internally displaced in DRC. The country is also host to over 500,000 refugees from neighbouring countries.

Further aggravating people’s vulnerability to COVID-19 in DRC is wide-spread poor access to basic services and infrastructure, including healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as high levels of reported acute food insecurity and acute malnutrition.

Response to the outbreak of the virus in DRC could also have significant harmful effects on the formal and informal economy of the country, impacting vast amounts of people who participate and rely on the capacity of markets to function effectively.

In light of this, REACH led a Rapid Markets Assessment to inform affected populations and the humanitarian community on the likely impacts of COVID-19 on the functionality of markets, and the availability and affordability of essential goods linked to nutrition and hygiene.

Whilst data collection was taking place, the city of Uvira was hit by severe flooding, further affecting local market capacity. To complement the Rapid Markets Assessment, partner-NGO ACTED provided additional information specific to the markets of Uvira following the same REACH methodology.

Among the key findings:

  • 96% of assessed vendors reported facing difficulties to re-stock following national COVID-19 containment measures; the most reported reason being the shutting down of neighbouring borders.
  • 34 out of 38 vendors assessed reported expecting prices to continue rising for all food and non-food items as long as containment measures would be in price, significantly affecting the ability of affected populations to afford those goods.

For in-depth analysis and the complete set of key findings, please download the fact-sheet available online (only available in french): https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/c3e0bb33/REACH_DRC_Factsheet_2002_Evaluation-rapide-des-march%C3%A9s-Uvira_Avril-2020.pdf

 


27/04 – Central African Republic – Gearing market monitoring to prepare Central Africans to COVID-19 related risks

Version française (FR) de la mise à jour téléchargeable ici: RCA-UPDATE-27.04

The Central African Republic is home to the third largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Over half of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance, and 1.7 million people are in a severely precarious situation. Violence against civilians, and humanitarian workers, is still high. Combined with the extremely limited amount of paved roads, and functional infrastructure generally, Central Africans continue to endure the many nefarious effects of a complex and severe humanitarian crisis. The lack of reliable and up to date information is also one of the main challenges faced by the humanitarian community operating in CAR.

Although the number of officially confirmed COVID-19 cases is still low in CAR, the response to the outbreak of the virus in the region has seen governments enforce lock-downs, movement and gathering restrictions, and has led to multiple border closures for people, which could ultimately have dramatic effects on market prices, should it extend to commercial transport.

In CAR’s neighboring countries for instance, Cameroon – one the main suppliers of goods to CAR – has very early on shut down its borders, prompting worries about prices increasing and supply chains breaking down.

Since 2019, REACH has been facilitating through the Cash Working Group a Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI) with multiple partners in order to understand price fluctuations and product availability on a monthly basis. In light of the current context, changes, supply chain breakdowns, and market trends evolve more rapidly and as such must be monitored on a more dynamic basis than monthly alone.

That is why REACH and other partners have decided to implement a more dynamic version of the JMMI on a bi-monthly basis. The general objective is to provide the humanitarian community with reliable and timely data on the price and availability of part of the basic items comprised in the Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket, in addition to evolution in key market functionality indicators, to respond to the increasingly challenging context fomented by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Among key findings:

  • On the markets surveyed in mid-April, only some commodities suffered from price increases that can be linked to restrictive measures to mitigate COVID-19 impact. For instance, the increase in rice median prices in localities like Bossembele was attributed by merchants to transport difficulties, since this commodity is usually imported from other prefectures or from Cameroon. Price increases linked to transport issues were also noticed for petrol in 5 locations surveyed.
  • This first bimonthly study also showed that COVID-19 was already changing individuals’ behaviours linked to markets. 51% of merchants reported that they already noticed a decrease in the number of customers, and 31% reported that they had seen markets or shops shutting down in their area. Moreover, between 30% and 40% of them reported increase in price for transportation of goods, from the supplier to the stock area, or from that stock to their shop/market stall.

For the full analysis, feel free to access the fact-sheet on the REACH Resource Centre: https://bit.ly/3eM5WbD and the corresponding database: https://bit.ly/2Y7svSg

In addition to the newly geared JMMI, REACH teams in the Central African Republic are also planning further support to the Health and WASH clusters in the country, as well as providing secondary data review of Multi-sector needs assessments, assessments from hard-to-reach areas, and Accountability to Affected Populations assessments to specifically build an evidence base to respond to the risks of COVID-19.

Analysis and key findings from these assessments will be posted on the thread, please make sure to check back regularly for fresh updates.

 


24/04 – Migration – Guidance note on the likely risks and impacts linked to COVID-19 pandemic for refugees and migrants

The spread of COVID-19 has had a profound impact on human mobility. In a matter of months, movement in and of itself has become a threat to public health. And while there is much that we do not yet know with regards to the full impact of COVID-19, we do know this: in many contexts, refugees and migrants will be disproportionately affected by the virus and its aftermath.

What are the risks?

I. Refugees and migrants are particularly exposed to catching the virus due to several factors.

Moreover, if infected, access to appropriate healthcare is likely to pose a further challenge and pose an immediate threat for many refugees and migrants. And beyond physical well-being, refugees and migrants also often lack close social ties with friends and family that allow individuals to cope better with the impact of a crisis

II. COCIVD-19, and governmental response to it, disrupts mobility as a source of livelihood, one that is central for most refugees and migrants’ economic plan.

Therefore, many refugees and migrants’ access to livelihood sources will be severely limited, be that as of immediately or in the mid to long-term. This will impact individuals on the move, but likely equally families in the country of origin. We know from our research that refugees and migrants are almost never only responsible for themselves.

III. Access to rights

As basic rights are being curtailed in attempts to limit the spread of the virus, refugees and migrants are at particular risk of being denied access to their basic rights. Already, the right to asylum has been infringed in some countries and, though bilateral returns continue, resettlement of recognized refugees to safe third countries has been put on hold.

For information on the likely impacts this will have on refugees and migrants, as well as an an overview of different types of outputs that IMPACT and REACH can roll-out in country, based on country-level information needs, priorities and capacity, please feel free to download the full guidance note on “Migration and COVID-19”: https://www.reachresourcecentre.info/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/IMPACT_GLO_migration-covid-memo_april-2020.pdf

 


23/04 – Libya – Monitoring the impact of a COVID-19 outbreak for at-risk populations in Tripoli

Libya is currently in its ninth year of instability and conflict, leaving governance structures and service provision, including healthcare, severely undermined.

As in other conflict affected countries, the impact of the spread of COVID-19 in Libya is likely to exacerbate the current humanitarian crisis. Libyan authorities have followed the global trend of introducing measures to help combat the spread of the disease, such as movement restrictions and social distancing regulations.

REACH, in collaboration with the Protection Cluster and the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC), have set up an assessment to monitor how these regulations are impacting the most vulnerable. With a focus on potential barriers to accessing information, services and livelihoods in Tripoli, this assessment seeks to inform the humanitarian community by highlighting how humanitarian needs are evolving in the current operating environment.

 

For more information, please feel free to download the full fact-sheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/d68fe844/REACH_LBY_Protection-Monitoring-During-COVID-19_Factsheet_4-9-April-2020.pdf

 


23/04 – Nigeria – Mapping the prevalence of chronic diseases in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states

The ongoing crisis in Northeast Nigeria continues to have a profound impact on the population with an estimated 7.1 million people in need of humanitarian assitance in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states (BAY).

As the protracted crisis in North-East Nigeria progressed in its eleventh year in 2020, humanitarian needs in the BAY states remain dire and multi-faceted.

In the midst of this ongoing humanitarian crisis, a new threat has emerged in the form of a global COVID-19 pandemic. On the 22nd of April, 91 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded, bringing the total to 873 cases. Cases have been recorded in Borno and Adamawa, whilst Yobe has so far not recorded any cases.

To support the response to an outbreak in these three vulnerable states, REACH has mapped the prevalence of chronic diseases among affected populations living in the BAY states as part of the need to prioritize and focus on the most vulnerable. The chronic disease map (left) is an addition to the medical coverage map (right) that was originally shared in an update on 10 April. Click here for the medical coverage maps divided by state.

Among the key findings, one local government area (LGA) in Borno and Yobe states reportedly hosts 20% or more households with at least one member suffering from a chronic disease.

Download the chronic disease prevalence map here: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/96c1d109/REACH_NGA_Map_BAY_ChronicDisease_15Apr2020.pdf

 


22/04 – Yemen – Monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through newly geared Joint Market Monitoring Initiative

Yemen’s infrastructure has been seriously affected by five years of conflict, leaving the country with little capacity to respond effectively to an outbreak of COVID-19.

Over 3.6 million people have been displaced since the start of the conflict. One third live in camps and informal settlements which are overcrowded and lack proper access to health and sanitation facilities.

Of particular concern: Yemen relies on imports for 80% to 90% of its basic needs, making it particularly vulnerable to disruptions in the world economy.

Since September 2018, REACH, in collaboration with the WASH cluster, and the Cash and Market Working group in Yemen, has been collecting monthly information on market systems including price levels and supply chains. The goal of this Joint Market Monitoring Initiative (JMMI) is to support humanitarian actors with the harmonization of price monitoring among all cash actors in Yemen.

With the current global COVID-19 pandemic, REACH has adapted the JMMI to begin assessing the potential impact of the pandemic on markets and on businesses.

The JMMI also continues to collect price data for fuel, water, and hygiene products, including all the component of the WASH Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB).

In addition, new indicators specific to the COVID-19 crisis and its potential impact on markets are now being tracked on a bi-weekly basis.

Among the key findings from April’s data collection:

  • 86% of vendors did not report any added difficulty acquiring goods due to COVID-19 related disruptions;
  • Restocking times in Marib and Amran have reportedly significantly risen;
  • Prices for bottled water and treated water reportedly rose by nearly 9% and 17% respectively since last month.

For more key-findings, please access the full JMMI COVID-19 fact-sheet for the month of April: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/87c24668/REACH_YEM_JMMI_Situation-Overview_April-Round-1-2020-1.pdf

 


21/04 – Ukraine – REACH publishes Rapid Health Facilities Assessments from Donetsk and Luhansk

Entering its 7th year, the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine has left 3.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. The crisis has significantly disrupted the delivery and access of two critical services in Donetsk and Luhansk regions: healthcare and water supply.

Previous REACH assessments have found that the 400+ km line of contact separating large urban centers in non-government controlled territories and their peripheries in government controlled areas has significantly affected access to specialized healthcare and complex water infrastructure systems.

These two services represent lifelines during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, the significant drop in economic and social activity as result of lock-down measures has already eroded the economic security and the mental well-being of populations that have been living for years in conflict.

The outbreak of coronavirus in Ukraine, with more than 5,710 confirmed cases as of April 20th, 2020, is likely to significantly affect a weakened healthcare system and a highly vulnerable population living in eastern Ukraine.

To inform humanitarian programs responding the COVID-19 crisis, REACH launched a Rapid Health Facilities Assessment (RaHFA) in Donetsk and Luhansk (Government-Controlled Areas), developed in coordination with the Health and WASH clusters in order to evaluate health facility readiness and identify current health-related needs at the facility level.

 

Key findings from the RaHFA show that:

  • Most health service providers in Donetsk & Luhansk Oblasts face challenges concerning COVID-19; given the limited availability of personal protective equipment and a high proportion of facilities (89%) reporting suspected cases, a large number of healthcare workers and patients could be at risk of infection.
  • A key challenge in responding to COVID-19 at the present moment, is the low capacity in collecting and referring samples for testing, where gaps reportedly exist in terms of established referral mechanisms, equipment and supplies, staff knowledge, access to information, and logistical capacities.
  • 69% of primary facilities had no personal protective equipment (PPE) for patients, and 9% lacked PPE for healthcare workers, which will likely affect their ability to implement effective infection prevention and control measures.
  • Only 1 in 3 facilities reported screening suspected cases before entering the facility.
  • Overall communication with national authorities was satisfactory, while around 1 in 5 facilities did not have a response plan for the crisis.

Full fact-sheet available here: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/4d0b38b8/REACH_UKR_Factsheet_RaHFA_April-2020.pdf

REACH has also seconded technical support to the Ukraine Public Health Centre (PHC) to ensure capacity building in Information Management in partnership with UNICEF. Under this activity REACH is seconding information management and GIS staff to the PHC to support data collection, processing and analysis related to COVID-19 in Ukraine.

In the last week REACH supported development of web maps and dashboards to inform where COVID-19 cases are reported using data provided from the health authorities.

Link to the web-map: https://reachinitiative.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=2d7feab37afb4cafaace79739ce770c5

 


17/04 – Nigeria – Monitoring COVID-19 indicators from multi-sector needs assessment in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states

As the protracted crisis in North-East Nigeria progressed in its eleventh year in 2020, humanitarian needs in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) States remain dire and multi-faceted.

The conflict has left 7.1 million individuals in need of humanitarian assistance.

Most recently, the humanitarian community has identified around one million individuals staying in hard-to-reach areas, with little hope to be reached by humanitarian assistance.

In the midst of this ongoing humanitarian crisis in North-East Nigeria, a new threat has emerged in the form of a global COVID-19 pandemic.

To support response and plan preparedness to the spread of the new coronavirus, REACH has synthesized key findings from relevant COVID-19 indicators sourced from three multi-sector needs assessment conducted in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

Moreover, Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) principles have assumed increased importance since the global COVID-19 outbreak. With this in mind, REACH published key findings from an additional AAP qualitative study conducted in March that aimed to further explore the AAP component present in the 2019 Multi-Sector Needs Assessment.

The study showed that community and religious leaders are the most commonly reported trusted source of information (81% and 49%).

More key findings and analysis available in the full fact-sheets:

Borno State – https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/29704001/REACH_NGA_Factsheet_MSNA-COVID-19_BornoState_April2020.pdf

Adamawa State – https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/b65b92f9/REACH_NGA_Factsheet_MSNA-COVID-19_AdamawaState_April2020.pdf

Yobe State – https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/9ca6e65b/REACH_NGA_Factsheet_MSNA-COVID-19_YobeState_April2020.pdf

Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) study – https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/a37db4e6/REACH_NGA_Factsheet_Nigeria_AAP_April_2020_Final.pdf

 


16/04 – Northwest Syria – Providing baseline data to support awareness, prevention and response to COVID-19 in Idleb and Aleppo governorates

In Syria, areas within the Idleb and northern Aleppo governorates witnessed an escalation in violence commencing in December 2019, leading to a massive displacement of Syrian citizens fleeing within an increasingly small swathe of land. OCHA estimates that 960,000 Syrians are internally displaced. The sheer number of displaced households has increased the deterioration of an already dire humanitarian situation in the region.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has raised further concerns on the humanitarian situation in northwest Syria (NWS). Humanitarian actors face many challenges providing ongoing humanitarian support, while yalso now needing to scale-up and deal with a potential outbreak of the new coronavirus. The NWS context compounds the risk of a severe outbreak due to conditions such as widespread overcrowding in shelters and insufficient access to basic services related to both prevention and/or treatment of disease (i.e. health, water and hygiene).

Early April, REACH launched a rapid needs assessment (RNA) as a response to the large-scale displacement to areas in the north of Idleb and west of Aleppo governorates caused by the most recent escalation of violence in nearby areas.

The RNA enables a multi-sectoral overview of the humanitarian situation in up to 463 communities. The information specifically related to the COVID-19 collected from the assessment provides baseline data on the existing gaps and needs with respect to local awareness, prevention and response to the pandemic.

Among the key findings of the assessment:

  • Nearly 40% of Key Informants (KI) reported that at least 75% of the community population had received information about protecting themselves from COVID-19;
  • Only 12% of KIs reported that the entire community had received relevant information.

Despite the preventive measures put in place by authorities and communities, the conditions in northwest Syria highlight the need for immediate action to decrease the risk of a potential catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak.

  • 52% of KIs reported that people in their communities were unable to access health facilities;
  • 80% of KIs also reported that overcrowding at health facilities has become a more pronounced barrier to accessing health services since the recent escalation in conflict;
  • Overcrowding was consistently reported across sub-districts.

For the full fact-sheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/d10d2fdd/REACH_SYR_Factsheet_SYR2007_16APR20.pdf

 


16/04 – Jordan – Preparing vulnerable out-of-reach communities in case of COVID-19 proliferation

Jordan has hosted several waves of refugees over the past decades, the most recent influx consisting of Syrian refugees seeking safety from the protracted civil war. The arrival of significant numbers of refugees has placed considerable strains on Jordan’s economy and service delivery.

To help prepare affected populations in vulnerable out-of-reach communities and inform humanitarian actors on the risks related to a COVID-19 outbreak, REACH synthesized findings from the March 2020 Jordanian multi-sector needs assessments (MSNA). In total, the MSNA surveyed 2,435 households and 653 Key Informants in vulnerable out-of-reach areas.

Here are the key conclusions contained in the brief:

  • Restrictions on migration across governorates significantly prevents out-of-reach communities from finding income generating opportunities.
  • A significant proportion of non-Syrian households are not registered with the UNHCR, and therefore may face a higher risk of not receiving food/cash assistance. It is important to include these families in service provision.
  • Households in Karak, Zarqa, Balqa, Amman and Aqaba reported having the highest cases of respiratory and/or chronic illnesses, and therefore are at a higher risk of COVID-19 cases developing into severe stages.
  • Across all governorates, food quality and amount of consumption is likely to decrease, while debt per household increases, due to the national lockdown preventing livelihood generating activities.
  • Households particularly in Irbid, Mafraq and Balqa reported having difficulties accessing water. Without WASH assistance, their likelihood of COVID-19 infection increases.

For more key-findings, and a breakdown of the analysis by sector, feel free to access the full brief: REACH_Jordan_Assessment_COVID-19_Brief_16_April_2020.pdf

 


• Assessments from 01/04 – 15/04 (Updates from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, DRC, Global Cash & Markets, Libya, Nigeria, Mali, and South Sudan)

Assessments launched, conducted and published from 01/04 – 15/04 (from most to less recent)


15/04 – Regional – Communities in border area between Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali lack access to healthcare and water

The border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger has been characterized by a climate of insecurity due to the presence of armed groups, criminality and rising tensions between communities.

In some settlements, access to affected populations is limited due to the security situation, poor infrastructure and difficult geographical conditions.

In collaboration with humanitarian coordination mechanisms in the region, REACH set up a monthly monitoring of the humanitarian situation in the departments located in the border area in order to fill information gaps on settlements deprived of access to basic services.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, here are the relevant key findings extracted from the assessment:

  • There is a critical need for access to healthcare yet in a significant proportion of assessed settlements, Key Informants (KI) reported that the majority of the population does not have access to health facilities.

The Sahel region seems the most heavily affected, with KIs reporting a lack of access to functional health services in 56% of assessed settlements.

  • The Sahel, Centre Nord and Tillabéri regions seem to be most affected by a lack of access to sufficient water.

On top of this, the majority of assessed settlements in each region do not use latrines, and in at least 75% of settlements in each region the population does not use soap when washing hands.

  • Populations are reportedly moving increasingly towards daily labour and petty trade, as a result of the end of the harvest season.

Yet with the increase in dependency on these sources of livelihoods, COVID19-related restrictions on transportation, gatherings and border closures may negatively affect entire communities

Access the full fact-sheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/2e3958c3/REACH_NER_RegionalSnapshot_HSM_Feb2020.pdf

 


14/04 – Bangladesh – Mapping COVID-19 risk factors for refugees in Cox’s Bazar

Over the past four decades, Rohingya refugees have been fleeing to Bangladesh from Rakhine State, Myanmar. An estimated 700,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Cox’s Bazar since 2017, increasing the total number of refugees living in camps to approximately 855,000. Most of the newly-arrived refugees settle in hilly, formerly-forested areas vulnerable to landslides and flash flooding, and rely heavily on humanitarian assistance to cover their basic needs. To support considerations for COVID-19 response planning for these Rohingya, REACH has conducted additional spatial analysis on data collected during past assessments to identify area-specific demographic patterns related to potential vulnerabilities and risk factors.

The analysis cuts across multiple sectors to provide an overview of possible risk factors associated with the novel coronavirus, covering the following topics:

Underlying camps and household demographics

  • In light of global trends suggesting COVID-19 case-fatality rates beginning to increase from age 50, additional risks may be posed for this elderly population due to the weakened health care system, poor sanitation, and hilly terrains that may pose an additional challenge for elderly individuals seeking healthcare services.
  • Among individuals aged 60 years or older, 34% were found to have a disability and 28% were reported needing assistance to complete daily tasks.

Health behaviors

  • Proper treatment and containment of a potential outbreak will rely on refugee’s trust in the health system within the camps and willingness to seek services at the 18 health facilities serving the camps, where 72 isolation beds and 257 stand-by beds have been made available.
  • Those with underlying conditions, including sufferers of acute respiratory infections and regular smokers, a habit widespread amongst males, may also be at heightened risk during a COVID-19 outbreak.

Household-reported hand-washing practices

  • As response partners have increased the provision of soap for hand washing, accompanying messaging could focus on closing the identified gaps in knowledge related to washing hands prior to close interactions with children and before handling food. Given the mode of transmission of COVID-19, considerations should also focus on households’ ability to wash hands with soap prior to starting wudu – or Islamic ablutions and purification prayer – as only 33% of households reported “before prayer” as a critical hand-washing time.
  • While household ownership of soap has been found to be high, only 17% of households reported the presence of soap at hand-washing stations outside latrines they recently used.

Access to Water

  • Access to sufficient quantities of water is a key component of maintaining personal and household hygiene during the crisis. Previous survey findings indicate that most time spent collecting water is spent waiting at the water point, raising concerns about the ability to maintain proper distances at water points.

For the full fact-sheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/1bddb509/BGD_Factsheet_COVID19-Risk-Factors-Mapping_April2020.pdf


11/04 – Nigeria – Identifying risk factors for hard to reach populations in Borno State

Previously from Nigeria: To support the humanitarian community in preparing for a potential COVID-19 outbreak in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, REACH mapped the medical coverage as well as the population density of urban centres of each state (see in thread.)

The continuation of conflict in Northeast Nigeria has created a complex humanitarian crisis. Responding to the crisis is difficult particularly in sections of Borno State that are hard to reach for humanitarian actors.

Previous assessments illustrate how the conflict continues to have severe consequences for people remaining in hard to reach areas.

People living in hard to reach areas of Borno state who are already facing severe and extreme humanitarian needs risk are even more vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the hard to reach areas of Borno state already have limited to no health care services and WASH infrastructure.

Against this backdrop, REACH published a factsheet to identify risk factors for populations in H2R areas of Borno State as well as factors that could slow a potential spread of COVID-19 and its impact.

 

Key findings:

  • The movement restrictions reported, especially among women in Kukawa, Gwoza and Dikwa areas, could possibly slow the spread of a potential COVID-19 outbreak. Similarly, the reported lack of access to markets especially in Kukawa, Ngala, Mafa and Dikwa, could indicate a potential slower spread in the case of a future outbreak;
  • The majority (77%) of assessed settlements across all LGAs reported only using water for hand-washing while only 2% reported using water and soap;
  • The distance to the water source is particularly a concern for assessed settlements in Gwoza, Konduga and Kukawa, where more than half of assessed settlements reported that fetching water took more than 30 minutes;
  • 87% of assessed settlements with no access to a functional health service (88%) reported that the main barrier to accessing health services is that they are either destroyed or never existed;
  • 78% of assessed settlements reported most people had difficulty accessing information they needed on humanitarian services.
  • Less than 15% of assessed settlements in each area reported that people had access to a functional health care facility that the population could reach and return from within one day,

More findings and analysis in the full fact-sheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/18f74266/REACH_NGA_Factsheet_-Borno_STM_H2R_Feb2020_COVID-19.pdf

 


10/04 – Mali – Analyzing access to healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene for vulnerable populations in the Mopti region

Version française téléchargeable ici: UpdateMALI.(FR)

Since March 2012, political instability and internal armed conflicts have aggravated Mali’s precarious humanitarian situation, characterized by massive displacement, latent food insecurity and malnutrition, combined with unpredictable weather conditions and economic instability.

The region of Mopti, on the border of Burkina Faso and Niger, is particularly characterized by insecurity, causing the displacement of nearly ninety thousand people in the region. As a result, affected populations residing in the region are particularly vulnerable to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, and such an event could significantly worsen their current living conditions.

To support the response to such an epidemic in affected localities in the Mopti region, REACH has provided an analysis of previous data collected from monthly assessments of community access to essential services, such as health care, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

The analysis revealed that many areas are home to internally displaced people living in inadequate conditions, and with a majority of the population unable to wash their hands.

These two factors compound the already vulnerable situation of IDPs in the region, who are likely to see these conditions worsen and become serious health problems in the event of an epidemic.

The full fact-sheet, available in french, is accessible here: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/1675092c/reach_mli_rapid_health_handwashing_brief_MOPTI.pdf


09/04 – Libya – COVID-19 measures causes price of basic items to spike as well as shortages

With the arrival of the first cases of COVID-19 in Libya, national authorities have implemented curfews and closed all stores apart from groceries and pharmacies.

As a result, prices for most stapled goods have doubled and shortages for key items persist.

To respond to this situation and help prepare the most vulnerable, REACH conducted a rapid market assessment in Libya to provide a brief city-level overview of market functionality, with a focus on shortages and price spikes for basic food and hygiene items.

 

Key trends

  • Directly after COVID-19 measures were put into place, food prices spiked in the majority of assessed cities, with some locations reporting temporary price increases reaching 500 – 900%.
  • Shortages of basic food items, such as eggs, vegetables and wheat products were frequently reported.
  • In terms of hygiene, latex gloves and masks are reported as scarce. Hand sanitizers and cleaning products were also reported to be in short supply across the country.

For a detailed breakdown of the situation of markets per city, access the full factsheet: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/30893d09/COVID-19-Libya-Rapid-Market-Assessment.pdf

 


09/04 – Nigeria – Mapping medical coverage in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states

After more than 10 years of conflict, the ongoing crisis in Northeast Nigeria continues to have a profound impact on the population with an estimated 7.1 million people in need of humanitarian assitance in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.

Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, hosts the largest proportion of IDPs in the country with 1.9 million people displaced. The congested status of camps has resulted in over 60% of IDPs residing outside of camps within host communities and in informal settlements.

Though there has been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NE Nigeria, the region is rapidly working to prepare for a potential outbreak that could have a devastating effect on already vulnerable populations.

Access to basic services, notably healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene is already stretched, having been exacerbated by mass population movements, breakdowns in infrastructure, poverty, and chronic long-term underdevelopment in the region.

To support the humanitarian community in preparing for a potential COVID-19 outbreak in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, REACH mapped the medical coverage as well as the population density of urban centres of each state.

Links to maps:

– Borno medical coverage overview

– Adamawa medical coverage overview

– Yobe medical coverage overview


07/04 – Burkina Faso – REACH analyses factors of vulnerability for transmission of COVID-19 in Kaya city (Centre-Nord)

Version française téléchargeable ici: BFA-UPDATE-FR

The growing number of COVID-19 cases in Burkina Faso is threatening to overwhelm the country’s war-weakened health system and complicate efforts to respond to one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement crises.

As of March 25, 2020, over 80,000 IDPs have been registered in Kaya town and neighbouring villages of the commune of Kaya. Among the IDPs that have settled in Kaya town, many live in overcrowded shelters and face severe constraints to meet their basic needs due to increasing pressures on services and resources.

In order to support the planning of the humanitarian response to the COVID-19 virus, REACH undertook a synthesis of the relevant data collected in the city of Kaya in February 2020 during an exercise of mapping of basic infrastructure and multisectoral needs assessment.

Key findings

  • The constraints related to access to water are severe in the city of Kaya and therefore constitute a clear barrier to regular hand washing.
  • Difficulties in accessing income-generating activities for IDPs in the city of Kaya means that they are unable to meet their basic needs through market purchases. So buying soap is impossible for some IDPs or competes with other essential needs such as buying food, water and paying rent.
  • Health services are accessible for IDPs as well as for the host community, but non-free care for some medical services.
  • Shelter conditions for the majority of IDPs are conducive to the rapid transmission of infectious diseases due to the overcrowding of most housing and in particular the fact that several people share the same room, making self-containment essentially impossible.

Access the full fact-sheet (FR): https://www.impact-repository.org/document/repository/4db827eb/reach_bfa_analyse_donnees_pertinentes_reponse_covid_19_ville_de_kaya_unhcr_mars_2020.pdf

 


06/04 – DRC – Monitoring market functionality, and supporting clusters, to prepare vulnerable populations

With 15.6 million people in dire need of protection and humanitarian assistance, the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to witness one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world. A combination of various shocks, including armed conflict and natural disasters has led to large-scale population movement with 5.01 million people internally displaced in DRC. The country is also host to over 500,000 refugees from neighboring countries.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in DRC is occurring in a context of high pre-existing disease prevalence, likely increasing the risk of co-morbidity. DRC faces the world’s largest ongoing measles epidemic reaching 3320,00 cases in 2019-20 with over 6000 reported fatalities. Endemic cholera and malaria epidemics, alongside the 2018-20 Ebola outbreak have put further strain on an already weakened healthcare system.

Further aggravating people’s vulnerability to COVID-19 in DRC is wide-spread poor access to basic services and infrastructure, including healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as high levels of reported acute food insecurity and acute malnutrition.

Of particular concern: the situation of populations living in densely populated IDP and refugee camps in the country’s east and north, as well as in rapidly growing slums in the cities of Kinshasa, host to an estimated 12 million people and currently the hot-spot of reported COVID-19 cases.

To aid and support the COVID-19 humanitarian response in DRC, REACH is currently:

  • Supporting clusters in COVID-19 related Information Management activities to feed into national COVID-19 response planning.
  • Reviewing secondary data on shelter, food security, health and WASH facilities to assist government and humanitarian actors in prioritisation efforts by identifying areas and populations at particular risk of COVID-19.
  • Facilitating analysis of existing market price data collected by response actors, in close collaboration with various partners including the FSL Cluster and Cash Working Group, to inform rapid response partners on the affordability and availability of essential goods.
  • Launching a rapid market functionality assessment in selected areas to assess the impact of the current crisis on supply chains and markets.

More information on the coming assessments, with key findings, contextual analysis and links to the full reports, will be made available in this thread.

 


03/04 – Bangladesh – Scaling up market monitoring to understand impact of restrictions on most vulnerable

Cox’s Bazar, already one of the lesser-developed districts within Bangladesh, has been hosting Rohingya refugees fleeing violent outbreaks in Rakhine State, Myanmar. Roughly 850,000 refugees live in crowded camp settlements, which present heightened risks of infection of communicable diseases for entire communities of refugees who already face limited to no self-reliance opportunities to cope with additional shocks.

While health partners are rapidly scaling up their capacities following the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the district, REACH will be supporting partners on a variety of preparedness, access, and impact-based efforts:

  • Building upon a previous market feasibility exercise, REACH plans to launch a market monitoring initiative to understand the impact of increasing movement restrictions on the availability and accessibility of key commodities. Parallel to Rohingyas’ reliance on humanitarian assistance, three-quarters of households report relying on purchased goods for at least part of their weekly food supply. The rapid scale-up of a monitoring mechanism to track changes in prices, market dynamics, and functionality will therefore be crucial in understanding any increasing barriers to accessing basic food, hygiene, and pharmaceutical supplies.
  • REACH is expanding its partnership with NGO Platform. This will support partners to quickly adapt their operations amidst an increasingly difficult context. Synthesizing partner-reported information allows NGO Platform to rapidly inform the humanitarian community and advocate for essential services crucial to affected populations who depend on it.
  • To capitalize on the wealth of data already available within the Rohingya respone, REACH is conducting secondary spatial analysis to understand areas of heightened vulnerability specific to the dynamics of COVID-19.

Updates and key findings from the market monitoring initiative, as well as results to the secondary spatial analysis, will be posted here regularly.


02/04 – South Sudan – Recommendations for effective outreach to communities on the risks linked to COVID-19

REACH teams in South Sudan published their first COVID-19 preparedness information product drawn from a selection of REACH assessments examining “Trends in Communication Preferences and Modalities” to aid partners in informing COVID-19 risk communication outreach and community engagement.

Key findings

Information about COVID-19 should adopt a multi-channel messaging strategy and flow via existing community communication structures, especially as community information sources reportedly generally do not change during an emergency:

  • There is a strong reported preference for in-person information sharing, especially through community leaders and community mobilizers; however, health-related messaging is reportedly transmitted to most communities in-person from health-related actors (MoH, community health workers, NGOs), not community leaders, in most assessed settlements where the Ebola response has/is taking place (Easter, Western and Central Equatoria).
  • Despite state level variation in reported preferred spoken language of communication, English is reported as the most preferred language of written communication in all ten states.
  • Radio Miraya was reported as the most widely listened radio station
    • In camp settings, radio was listed as the primary channel to access trustworthy news and information
    • In multiple FGDs and KIIs, respondents agreed that “radio is only a useful source of communication when supplemented with in-person” forms of communication
  • Cell-phone coverage was found to be reportedly unevenly distributed across South Sudan
    • States with the lowest reported cell-phone coverage are Eastern Equatoria, Upper Nile and Jonglei.
    • States with the highest reported cellphone penetration are Central Equatoria, Lakes, Warrap and Western Bahr el Gazhal.

The full report is accessible here: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/241d4913/REACH_SSD_Communication-Modality-Preferences_FINAL.pdf


02/04 – Cash-based assistance – Key takeaways for planning market monitoring & assessments in COVID19 context

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to spread from country to country, many countries in which IMPACT works have opted to enforce strict social distancing measures, temporarily shut down venues for large public gatherings, and close their borders to most or all foreign entrants to prevent the spread of the virus. These measures, while necessary from a public health perspective, are already having strong negative effects on some of the market systems on which vulnerable populations depend. Border closures, labor shortages, and restrictions on cross-border cargo transport have disrupted supply chains in some countries, causing sudden price spikes and item shortages; government-mandated business closures and bans on public gatherings have led to the closures of many vendors and marketplaces deemed non-essential; and large numbers of vulnerable people have been cut off from their livelihoods overnight, leading not only to increased humanitarian need but to increased insecurity in some contexts, as market vendors deal with theft, robbery, and open threats.

In this context, IMPACT has produced a guidance document to collect ideas for COVID-19-related market monitoring cycle or market assessment where relevant to help humanitarian actors understand the pandemic’s effects on market prices, item availability, and market functionality.

Here are the key takeaways for anyone planning market monitoring & assessment exercises in the context of COVID-19:

  • Usual market monitoring methodologies (+link to RC) should be adequate for this task, but with modifications that will better match our data collection to the nature of the crisis. Given the pace of events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency of the situation, any market monitoring undertaken in support of the response should strive to be faster and more frequent than usual.
  • The following COVID-19-specific research questions can be considered. In particular, whether market operations,  customers’ purchasing patterns, market vendors’ internal operations changed in the wake of public health restrictions / transport restrictions / international border closures / etc. imposed to control the COVID-19 pandemic or whether supply chains for any key commodities and the willingness and ability of both customers and market vendors to continue buying and selling commodities were affected.
  • Market monitoring to support the COVID-19 response should aim to cover only 8-10 key commodities, and should collect basic information on market prices, availability, and restocking timelines for each. However, given the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is particularly crucial to go beyond prices and include indicators on market functionality as well.
  • In many contexts, it is possible to conduct many market monitoring and assessments using remote data collection, delivering the full questionnaire over the phone, Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, or even SMS in situations where a call is impossible; indeed, this has been done systematically in some contexts. However, lack of mobile connectivity  and problems with unit measurement can make this extremely challenging in some countries. Even where possible, the process of conducting market interviews remotely is not without problems. It can be hard on both the enumerator and the trader, as it tends to be more difficult for a trader to split their attention between a phone and an in-person customer than between two people physically present at their stall, which may mean that they are more likely to hang up before the end of the survey or ask to split it between several phone calls. Furthermore, as with any remote data collection exercise, stricter data cleaning processes will need to be set up to ensure the quality of any data collected using remote methods. The process of setting up a remote assessment will require enumerators to build a network of trader KIs, which will require them to do an initial round of in-person scoping to collect the phone numbers of market vendors they plan to interview, or, alternatively, to reach out to their existing contacts over the phone and engage in a bit of snowball sampling until they obtain contact information for an appropriate number of traders. The coverage of any such assessments will be limited to areas with sufficient mobile connectivity to support a lengthy phone call.

In an effort to contribute to a broader effort in response to COVID, REACH decided to make this internal guidance documents public. It is available for download here: https://www.reachresourcecentre.info/toolkit/cash/


01/04 – Burkina Faso – REACH informs response planning in prevention to COVID-19 in Centre-Nord, Nord, and Sahel regions

Version française téléchargeable ici: 01/04-UPDATE-Burkina.Faso.FR

Amid the current COVID-19 outbreak in Burkina, humanitarian actors are increasingly concerned about the impact the disease could have on those already severely impacted by the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Indeed, aid groups in Burkina Faso were already responding to a rapidly evolving displacement crisis and to widespread needs in hard-to-reach areas. This is getting harder still as coronavirus cases rise. As of 29 March, the country had recorded more than 246 cases – one of the highest number in sub-Saharan Africa.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 in several regions of Burkina Faso poses a risk of spread to areas affected by the humanitarian crisis. In order to support response planning in prevention of the COVID-19 virus, REACH undertook a synthesis of February 2020 data collected in localities in the Centre-Nord, Sahel and Nord regions (through a monthly monitoring of the situation set up in November 2019) that may be relevant to the humanitarian response.


01/04 – Libya – Assessing the impact of the emerging crisis on social cohesion and access

Libya is currently in its ninth year of instability and conflict, leaving governance structures and service provision, including healthcare, severely undermined and deteriorated. The country is also home to a large migrant and refugee population who face protection risks, such as discrimination and the denial of access to services.

The impact of the spread of COVID-19 in the country is likely to exacerbate protection risks across Libya, especially for population groups who are already vulnerable such as migrants, refugees, and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Libyan authorities reported eight official cases of the novel virus and have already imposed measures to help combat the spread of the disease, such as curfews, movement restrictions and the banning of all gatherings. Although these policies are designed to protect the population from the emerging health crisis, they will likely result in a worsening of the humanitarian situation in the country.

Against this backdrop, REACH is launching a Protection Monitoring assessment to track access to information, services and livelihoods among the population in Libya during the COVID-19 health crisis in order to identify any protection concerns or other needs. In the current situation, access to reliable information, public services and livelihood opportunities are essential for the well-being of the population. This assessment will monitor the rapidly evolving situation by looking at the impact of the pandemic on access as well as the effect the crisis is having on social cohesion. In particular, the assessment will focus on the barriers that vulnerable populations face by assessing the extent to which the impact of the crisis is exacerbating existing or new inequalities.


• Assessments prior to 01/04 (Updates from Afghanistan, Colombia, South Sudan Iraq, and Niger)

Assessments launched, conducted and published prior to 01/04 (from most to less recent)


31/03 – Iraq – Mapping IDPs and returnees vulnerable to COVID-19

As of 25 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recorded 354 cases and 29 deaths due to COVID-19 in Iraq. This is in a country with approximately 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 6.7 million people already in need of humanitarian assistance.

Despite the end of outright conflict, insecurity, lack of social cohesion and livelihoods, and damaged or destroyed housing continue to hamper people’s ability to return home. Displaced people in and out of camp settings, as well as returnees who have not been able to return to their original homes, continue to depend on the provision of humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. Camp services and infrastructure are strained to meet minimum standards for the people displaced in 135 existing camps, and resources are needed to provide for those living in informal settings.

To raise awareness, enable prevention, and support preparedness efforts, REACH has mapped populations vulnerable to COVID-19 among IDPs and returnees in Iraq. These include people age 65 and above and/or with a pre-existing health condition. REACH estimates that 27,500 in-camp IDPs, 97,600 out-of-camp IDPs and 312,300 returnees are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

For more detailed information, access the individual maps for IDPs in camps, out of camps and returnees here: https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/e306534c/REACH_IRQ_Map_COVID19_VulnerablePopulations_ByGroup_March2020_A4-1.pdf


31/03 – Afghanistan – Gearing data collection tools and methodologies to anticipate response and prepare highly vulnerable communities

About 9.4 million Afghans currently rely on humanitarian assistance. The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic into the country could seriously disrupt the delivery of aid to the nearly 10 million Afghans who need it.

The border regions are currently the main flashpoint for concern – both for containing the virus, as well as the broader impacts on humanitarian operations in a country facing conflict, natural hazards, and overarching food instability.

More than 62,000 Afghans – a record weekly total – crossed the border from Iran between 15-21 March, as Afghanistan’s western neighbor deals with one of the world’s most severe corona-virus outbreaks.

In this context, REACH is supporting the Inter-Cluster Coordination Team (ICCT) and the ECHO-funded Emergency Response Team in revising the HEAT: a key household emergency assessment tool used by humanitarian actors. The HEAT will be geared to include key COVID-19 relevant indicators and streamline collection of data to inform the response.

In addition, REACH is facilitating the launch of a partner-led Joint Market Monitoring Exercise, in coordination with the Cash and Voucher Working Group, to assess affordability and availability of essential goods and impact of the current crisis on market functionality.

Also, in further anticipation of the need to advocate for some of the most at-risk communities in Afghanistan, REACH is gearing up to provide information, through remote sensing and key informant interviews, on presumed-to-be highly vulnerable informal settlements.

More information on the coming assessments, such as key findings, analysis and links to the full reports, will be made available in this thread.


30/03 – Niger – Vulnerabilities in the Tillabéri region risk compounding COVID-19 proliferation

Since November 2019 REACH has been monitoring the humanitarian situation and the multi-sectoral needs of affected populations in 3 border area between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. The information collected, including from hard-to-reach areas, is used to inform aid workers about humanitarian needs, accessibility of services, and the dynamics linked to displacement.

In the Tillabéri region of Niger, information collected in February shows that this area harbors departments with significant vulnerabilities in the event of COVID-19 proliferation for several factors:

Food – Depending on the progress of the pandemic, and the potential for stricter measures to combat the spread of the virus, food markets may close. This represents a crucial risk in certain places where the purchase of food via markets constitutes the main source of food for the majority of the population.

Trade and access – 30% of assessed areas in the departments of Ouallam, Ayerou, Tillabéri, Tera and Filingue declared that trade was the main livelihood activity for the majority of the population. These localities will face repercussions on household food security as well as difficulties to access basic services such as health and education.

Health – 30% of assessed areas in the departments of Banibangou and Ayerou, as well as 15% in the departments of Filingue and Tillabéri have difficulty accessing health services within walking distance. These difficulties stem from the lack of health infrastructure and the prevailing insecurity in certain areas. This situation is concerning because potential patients are likely to have difficulty accessing nearby health services (which could worsen cases) while the health system will face significant difficulties to provide care in the event of COVID-19 proliferation.

Illnesses – Even more worrying, in a quarter of the localities assessed in the areas of Ouallam, Ayerou, Abala and Torodi, respiratory problems were the main health problem during the previous month. Therefore, special attention should be paid by health and government actors to these localities, respiratory problems being an aggravating factor of COVID-19 infection.

Hygiene – Access to water is problematic in the areas of Bankilaré, Abala, Gotheye and Ouallam (more than 30 minutes to reach and return from a water source in more than 40% of the localities assessed). This finding is worrying since the availability of water is essential for compliance with hygiene standards, essential for stopping the spread of the new coronavirus. In almost all of the localities assessed in each department, the majority of the population did not wash their hands with soap or ash. In addition, soap is one of the most unavailable non-food items in more than half of the localities assessed in each department. In this particular context of prevention against COVID-19, the distribution of household items necessary for prevention constitute a priority among the non-food items to be distributed.

Proximity – As demonstrated by multisectoral assessments in previous months, the accommodation of displaced persons (IDPs) by host communities causes overcrowding. In the case of containment measures, this overcrowding of shelters in localities hosting IDPs could promote the spread of the disease and complicate the implementation of potential containment / isolation measures.

French version: 30/03.NER-update.FR.pdf.

For a closer look at the key findings and data sourced for analysis above, feel free to download excel fact-sheet (available only in french): https://www.impact-repository.org/document/reach/1f78a67b/REACH_NER_-Data_HSM-Prevention-COVID-19-Tillaberi_Fevrier-2020-1.xlsx


30/03 – Colombia – Evaluating the economic impact of COVID-19 for a better response

The 52 year armed conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government officially ended with the signature of the peace accords in 2016, however, since 2018 violence has again been on the rise. Decades of violence and abuses by the National Liberation Army (ELN), FARC and its dissidents and other paramilitary groups has forced 8 million people to flee their homes since the mid-80s. In neighbouring Venezuela the deterioration of social, economic and political structures coupled with long-lasting hyperinflation and trade sanctions have significantly impacted the food security, nutrition and access to basic needs of Venezuelans, forcing near to 5 million to flee, including approximately 1.5m who have stayed in Colombia.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection declared a health emergency, adopting health measures to control the spread of the disease on 12 March. On 13 March, the border with Venezuela was ordered closed, and by the 24 March all sea, land and river borders were sealed and the arrival of all international flights was banned. Since the 25 March, the whole of Colombia entered an enforced quarantine.

With all official routes into the country blocked, migrants who attempt to cross into Colombia will be forced to do so through irregular migration pathways. These illegal crossing points are controlled by illegal armed militias, which will put already extremely vulnerable persons at considerable further risk of exploitation, violence and insecurity. The border closures will also affect Venezuelans who rely on back-and-forth movement across the border for medicine, medical supplies, and other necessities, as well as Venezuelans inside Colombia – especially those who are not registered, as many are living in cramped informal sites with limited access to WASH and health facilities – as well as Colombian host community or Colombian internally displaced.

To aid and support the COVID-19 humanitarian response in Colombia, REACH is currently supporting the following two assessments:

  • REACH is supporting the “Grupo Interagencial sobre Elujos Migratorios Mixtos” (GIFFM) to launch a remote rapid assessment for COVID-19 to better understand the multi-sectoral needs of Venezuelans in Colombia, as well as barriers to complying with COVID-19 preventative measures
  • In coordination with the Cash Working Group of Colombia, REACH is launching a rapid assessment to understand and evaluate the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on the level of access and functionality of markets to supply basic needs related to food and hygiene products. The aim is to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to inform the humanitarian response during this health emergency.

All information products released on the situation in Colombia will be made available on our dedicated country page, as well as on the REACH Resource Centre. Make sure to check back on this thread for regular reporting.


30/03 – South Sudan – Monthly assessment of hard-to-reach areas geared to guide COVID-19 response

Five years of civil war in South Sudan has led to large-scale internal displacement and refugee outflow to neighbouring Sudan and Uganda, and has largely deteriorated food security conditions for the entire country. Over 3.6 million people are estimated to be displaced, including 1.4 million internally, and 2.2 million refugees. In addition, South Sudan is hosting nearly 300,000 refugees from Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia and CAR. Over 4.5 million South Sudanese are likely to face acute food insecurity in 2020, with more than 3.5 million in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and nearly 1 million in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

Any outbreak of COVID-19 in South Sudan is expected to further limit food production and severely reduce access to humanitarian assistance and livelihood coping strategies. The deteriorated humanitarian situation will be compounded by low access to healthcare services, and a generally weakened national economy.

Since December 2015, REACH has been working in the country to inform humanitarian actors working outside formal settlement sites by assessing hard-to-reach areas. Data is collected on a monthly basis through interviews with approx. 1850 key informants that are then triangulated with focus group discussions.

Building on this monthly assessment, REACH will be adjusting the next round of data collection by adapting questionnaires to deliver key messages to KIs about COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread. The assessment will also collect information concerning the capacity of health facilities, and predicted behaviour change of affected populations, to guide humanitarian preparedness and community engagement strategies. Analysis will also continue to highlight areas which have a convergence of high needs and are therefore most susceptible to changes in humanitarian aid delivery.

All information products released on the situation in South Sudan will be made available on our dedicated country page, as well as on the REACH Resource Centre. Make sure to check back on this thread for regular reporting.