Displacement Amidst a Global Pandemic: The Impact of COVID-19 on Syrian Refugees in Lebanon & Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

Betty Qian
Sofia Zaragoza
Publication Year:
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

By 2018, there have been more than 70.8 million individuals forcibly displaced as a result of war, conflict, persecution, and human rights violations—25.9 million refugees, 41.3 million internally displaced people, and 3.5 million asylum seekers (UNHCR). Refugees are among the most vulnerable populations in the world and are, therefore, going to be the most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through an exploration of two prominent refugee populations in two different host countries, find out more about how the novel COVID-19 virus has affected them and what steps can be taken to mitigate the multifaceted impact on refugees.


With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most vulnerable populations are refugees. This paper will explore how refugee populations & camps are affected by the spread of COVID-19 through a close analysis of two specific refugee populations.

First, the Syrian and Rohingya refugee crises, with two of the largest refugee populations, will be examined as case studies to delineate:

  1. the vulnerabilities that refugees face and existing problems that put them at a higher risk for COVID-19 infection and its severity
  2. current presence of COVID-19 in refugee camps and cases among the refugee population
  3. how host countries and international organizations have responded.

Finally, the conclusion of this paper will include policy and action recommendations for international organizations and host governments to mitigate the spread and respond most effectively to COVID-19 in refugee camps.


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