Something that has been repeated at the beginning of this health crisis is that COVID does not discriminate, that it treats everyone the same, that it does not understand nationalities, social class or gender. But, once again, we were wrong. Well, this virus does not treat a poor person the same as a rich person; a pensioner than a businessman. In the case of refugees, throughout the world, in addition to the migratory crisis, they are experiencing an added crisis, the health crisis. For this reason, the impact of the coronavirus is far from being the same on a businessman like Donald Trump, as on a refugee in the Campo de Moria.
As proof of this, we have all witnessed the rapid recovery of the President of the United States from the disease. Where his fight against the virus, fortunately, only lasted three days, despite his advanced age (74 years). In addition, Trump came out expressing his joy at being infected, and affirming that it was a blessing from God, and that now he is no longer afraid of the virus. No wonder, having at his disposal all the sanitary machinery of the world’s leading power in the White House, along with a million dollar helicopter, clear air traffic, and “his hospital”, all prepared for any emergency that might arise. suffer the mighty man.
A refugee, a homeless person, or a pensioner, however, I doubt that he will say that he is happy to have been infected, nor would he get out of the disease so easily with the access he has to overwhelmed health services. This health crisis, therefore, is being especially hard on the poor. In the specific case of refugees, the impossibility of carrying out safety and hygiene measures with newcomers is becoming evident. In Greece, these measures and recommendations imposed by the state of alarm are very similar to those in Spain, but it is proving impossible to carry them out in refugee camps:
1-Safety distance: Six people sleep in three square meters in the fields and there are often thousands of people queuing to get food.
2-Wash your hands often: in the fields there is a tap for more than a thousand people, and in many cases without soap -According to Doctors Without Borders-.
3-stay at home during confinement and avoid meetings of more than six people: the huts where the refugees live live several families, each with several members … Therefore, containing the pandemic in a refugee camp and protecting these people is simply impossible.
While here we often complain about the measures imposed by health experts to prevent the spread of the virus, about the safe distance, about having to continuously wash our hands, etc. In most refugee camps, there are hardly any taps for washing hands. Moussa, a refugee who lives wandering in Libya, tries to get money or food to feed his eight daughters, but today, due to the pandemic, it is even more difficult. Qusai al-Jatib, a Syrian displaced mother and mother, has had to leave the refugee camp and return to her hometown. Run away again, but this time from the pandemic. Another heartbreaking testimony is that of a Syrian refugee who claims that she is not afraid of the virus, that she wants to catch it in order to die and rest once and for all from this life of suffering. Houssain, an Afghan who lives in a refugee camp in Greece with his wife and two children, in a four-square-meter container, claims to fear for the life of his young son, a boy with a chronic illness. In view of the hygienic situation in the field, he is right.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the rapidity with which the pandemic has spread throughout the world, and given the negligence with which the states have treated these groups, the refugees themselves have had to organize to deal with the situation. , with the few means they have. Today, many organize, and do enormous work in order to protect their most vulnerable colleagues in the fields. They try to close gaps such as education and health. As Alio et. al., In many countries of the world, the refugees themselves are providing training, giving health and legal advice, distributing food, educating colleagues about the behavior of this disease in order to be prepared, etc. (2020).
In conclusion, the pandemic is being one of the harshest events in recent decades, human beings have been put to the test, their capacity for resilience, change, and adaptation to the “new normal”. However, it is especially hard on some groups that previously had a vulnerable and unsustainable situation. As Hudir Mehdaoui argues in Mada Masr’s Egyptian diary on refugees in Egypt: “HUNGER in the house and COVID in the street.” In this difficult and uncertain situation, we must, together, try to reduce the impact of the health pandemic on those who suffer the most, because, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has already pointed out, “The Coronavirus also will undoubtedly put our principles, values, and shared humanity to the test ”.