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Mixed Migration Centre: COVID-19 global update #5 - Impact of COVID-19 on refugees and migrants

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This is the fifth update on the situation for refugees and migrants on mixed migration routes around the world in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on data collected by MMC in Asia, East Africa, Latin America, North Africa and West Africa. As MMC moves to a new phase in its data collection, this update looks at changes over time on the themes covered in the Global Updates since April: COVID-19 awareness, knowledge and risk perception, access to healthcare, assistance needs and the impact on refugees’ and migrants’ lives and migration journeys. It also includes data on Afghan returnees. New Global Updates will be available soon, and for more detailed, thematic and response-oriented COVID-19 snapshots from each of the MMC regional offices, see: mixedmigration.org/resource-type/covid-19/

Key messages

• Knowledge of COVID-19 remains stable, and concern is high among refugees and migrants, although there has been a decrease in reports of fear of transmission.
At the same time, the proportion of respondents not taking measures to protect themselves from the disease is falling.

• The proportion of respondents reporting barriers to healthcare is falling, and especially in Latin America, a greater share are reporting that they can access healthcare.

• There are suggestions that some aspects of day-to-day life may be normalizing (although the limitations on the data must be taken into consideration). Fewer are reporting a reduced availability of basic goods, fewer are reporting loss of income (especially in North Africa and West Africa), and fewer are saying that loss of income is impacting on their ability to afford basic goods. Stress and anxiety, however, have been increasingly reported over time.

• Inability to continue the journey is increasingly reported, except in North Africa, where the proportion has dropped considerably over time. However, the proportion reporting that the crisis has not impacted on their journey has increased, as has the proportion reporting that the crisis has not impacted on their plans. Fewer people are reporting that they have decided to stay where they are for the time being.

• The proportion reporting needs has stayed consistently very high. The need for cash is most frequently reported, and has grown. While assistance received remains much lower than what is needed, the proportion receiving cash has grown. The perceived need for information has fallen.