….but it isn’t for lack of searching for it by the mainstream media.
For weeks I have been scouring news stories daily looking for the widespread arrival of COVID-19 in refugee camps around the world where people are living packed together and soap is a scarce commodity.
Several times I’ve wanted to just post the breathless headlines that scream a human tragedy is on the way. “Catastrophe” and “carnage” are the words that appear in many of the articles I’ve read.
But, so far (and I emphasize ‘so far’) the places where you would think the virus should have spread like wildfire are pretty much untouched.
However, this morning I found this headline at US News and figured it was time to report on the refugee ‘catastrophe’ about to explode (or maybe not):
Coronavirus Cases Rise in Refugee Camps
AS THE NUMBER OF coronavirus cases in refugee camps starts to rise around the world, experts are sounding the alarm over the vulnerabilities of displaced people during the pandemic.
There is a paragraph here taking a whack at the US and ICE, then this….
Meanwhile, confirmed coronavirus cases are turning up in refugee camps. In Greece, authorities announced on April 2 that a migrant camp had been quarantined after 23 asylum seekers tested positive for the coronavirus – the first such facility in the country to be hit since the outbreak, according to Reuters.
Bangladesh imposed a lockdown on March 24 after the first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, was reported in the refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Reuters reported. The camps at Cox’s Bazar house more than 1 million Rohingya.
A combination of population density, a lack of information and access to basic human services make refugees particularly vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus, according to Refugees International.
In a country where soap and water is in short supply, as of today the whole country of Bangladesh has only 482 cases.
Now see this near the end of the US News report:
Chris Boian, a senior communications officer with the U.N. Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, says that there have been “relatively low numbers of suspected or confirmed cases among refugees” overall.
Never letting a good crisis go to waste, here comes the New Yorker yesterday with an interview with ‘moneybags’ Miliband about the International Rescue Committee’s report on the crisis they are sure will unfold in refugee camps worldwide.
The Danger of COVID-19 for Refugees
On April 1st, the I.R.C. released a report on how the coronavirus pandemic could affect refugees. Focussing on displaced populations in Syria, Greece, and Bangladesh, the I.R.C. found that refugees will likely face extreme risk when the virus begins to spread. “The rapid spread of covid-19 on the Diamond Princess”—the cruise ship that was quarantined in the port of Yokohama, Japan—“showed how the virus thrives in confined spaces,” Marcus Skinner, a senior policy adviser at I.R.C., wrote, but the conditions of millions of displaced people “are far more cramped and poorly serviced, and the risks are far deadlier.”
I recently spoke by phone with David Miliband, the president and C.E.O. of the I.R.C. He was formerly a Labour Member of Parliament and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed what can be done to prevent vulnerable populations from contracting the coronavirus, how the I.R.C. is protecting its own staff, and why a pandemic makes international coöperation all the more necessary.
Of course their plan offers no real solutions. They say they are fighting “disinformation” and promoting government health services and are happy to report that private donations haven’t dried up.
They also want governments to keep their borders open, blah, blah, blah.
There is no way to promote social distancing in refugee camps, but Miliband does offer up a suggestion that more soap is needed because we all need to know this.
Everyone needs to know Anthony Fauci washes his hands fifty times a day and, if possible, know that their local trusted people are doing the same.
Hmmm!! I wonder how much soap Miliband’s $861,209 salary would buy.
It is a long article that you might want to save for future reference.
Only time will tell if the ‘carnage’ arrives in refugee camps like this million-plus Rohingya camp at Cox’s Bazar, but I find it interesting that it has been three weeks since the first case was reported there and there has not been any widespread infection where I expect there is no social distancing and little hand washing happening.