Coronavirus Plague, Economic Fallout Double Refugees’ Woes in the Middle East

Refugees from Idlib fleeing the Syrian Civil War in a camp in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Today marks seven weeks since the World Health Organization began describing COVID-19 as a “global pandemic.” See our full coverage here. Since March 11th, the number of infections worldwide has climbed from 131,135 to 3,006,833. These rates will likely skyrocket as the virus reaches refugee camps.

“They are living in close proximity to each other; they can’t self-isolate as we can in Western nations. So, when it (COVID-19) arrives, then it can actually just go through the camps very, very quickly,” Peter* from Cry Out Now says.

Furthermore, experts say the global economy faces its worst fallout since the Great Depression. These factors hit Middle East refugees especially hard. Refugees already suffered from poverty and poor health before the pandemic hit, Peter explains.

“It’s trauma upon trauma.”

Refugees struggle under lockdown

Most Middle East governments won’t extend help to refugee populations. In Turkey, Syrian refugees cannot receive financial or food assistance, or the facemasks that are given freely to Turkish citizens. Lockdown measures in Lebanon brought business to a standstill, so most refugees lost their jobs and only source of income. Jordan stands out as an exception to the norm, but its resources and capacity are stretched extremely thin.

Typically, local churches help refugees in crisis by providing food and medicines in Jesus’ Name.  Now, forced inside by lockdown orders, believers are frustrated. “We feel helpless,” they tell Peter.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray for an increase of dreams and visions among refugees. Ask the Lord to make His name known to these people groups.
  • Pray for provision and blessing upon refugees.
  • Ask the Lord to strengthen and encourage His followers as they intercede for refugees and extend physical help.

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