UNHCR Kenya expresses continued solidarity in ongoing efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for more support

Nairobi, 25 April 2020 – As the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, notes the increasing challenges faced by refugees, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable populations, and calls for continued solidarity. UNHCR appreciates the inclusion of refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons in the Government of Kenya’s preparedness and response plans.

The impact of the slow-down of global and national economies due to the pandemic has affected access to jobs and livelihoods and the ability of the most vulnerable populations, particularly refugees and asylum-seekers, who are already challenged in meeting their basic needs.

In addition, the fact that resettlement departures have been put on hold is a source of distress, as those refugees due to be resettled were hoping for a new start. It is important to stress that this is a temporary situation.

UNHCR is working closely with the Government of Kenya, alongside international and national NGO partners and UN sister agencies to ensure that refugees and asylum-seekers receive the necessary support during this extremely challenging time.

As part of preventive and preparedness measures, UNHCR and its partners have enhanced the capacities of health facilities, increased hygiene promotion and access to water, and distributed soap and jerry cans in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps. UNHCR and its partners have also increased the provision of psycho-social support and strengthened existing dedicated helplines, to ensure refugees and asylum-seekers across the country have access to fact-based information and guidance on assistance available to them, including financial, in their own languages.

As uncertainty around the pandemic grows, additional support is needed to enhance access to counselling and mental health services to help vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers in Kenya explore and develop positive coping strategies in this challenging time.  UNHCR urges the international community to continue its valuable support to refugees, asylum-seekers and host communities during this unprecedented situation.

ENDS

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Eujin Byun[email protected]   +254 798 487 988

Rose Ogola, [email protected] +254 742 974 807