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Global Overview

With COVID-19 now present in every country worldwide, the world’s 79.5 million refugees and forcibly displaced people are among the most exposed and vulnerable. For people who fled wars and persecution, the impact on their mostly hand-to-mouth existence and on their hosts has been devastating.

While no major outbreaks in refugee and internally displaced camps and settlements have so far been reported, UNHCR is rapidly responding in 134 refugee-hosting countries that are reporting local transmission. Our teams around the world are preparing fast and bracing for the worst.

In order to do this, UNHCR has called for an extra $745 million as part of the UN’s revised $10.3bn appeal for COVID-19.

This will help UNHCR to further strengthen national health and sanitation systems, provide vital protection services and ramp up cash assistance for the most vulnerable.

Together with our partners, UNHCR is determined to stay the course and deliver for refugees, internally displaced, stateless people, and their hosts, and ensure their inclusion in public health responses and social safety nets.

Additional guidance documents are available in the left hand menu while country specific details on their operational pages.

For any inquiries, please contact the UNHCR Partnership Section, hqng00 @ unhcr.org.

  Highlights
A report released by UNHCR on 18 September describes the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘force multiplier’, increasing the needs of the displaced population including refugees in many countries while also making those needs more difficult to address.
18 Sep 2020
80% of protection clusters (21 out of 26) report escalating conflict and/or political instability since the outbreak of COVID-19. This is undermining efforts to curb the spread of the virus, triggering new displacements, reducing safe access to vital health and sanitation services and impeding life-saving protection and humanitarian services.
04 Sep 2020
UNHCR has released the report “Coming Together for Refugee Education” which notes that half of all refugee children are out of school and calls for immediate and bold action by the international community to beat back the catastrophic effects of the coronavirus.
01 Sep 2020
  Global and Regional Updates
  Guidance Documents
  • Download

    Protecting Forcibly Displaced Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    document
    This brief provides a snapshot of child protection interventions by UNHCR and its partners during the pandemic, covering community engagement, case management, alternative care and capacity building.
    Published: 7 August 2020 (1 month ago)
    Uploaded: 7 August 2020 (1 month ago)
  • Download

    The role of the Global Compact on Refugees in the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic

    document
    Guidance Note
    Published: 20 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 15 May 2020 (4 months ago)
  • Download

    COVID-19 Inter-Agency Guidance for the Management of the Dead in Humanitarian Settings

    document
    This inter-agency guidance was jointly drafted by ICRC, IFRC and WHO colleagues. It is targeted towards humanitarian settings and aims to complement other guidance on the management of the dead with a...
    Published: 19 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 28 July 2020 (1 month ago)
  • Download

    Protecting Forcibly Displaced Women and Girls during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    document
    This document provides examples of UNHCR gender responsive and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention, risk mitigation and response interventions.
    Published: 16 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 17 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    Supporting continued access to education during COVID-19: Emerging Promising Practices - Issue 2

    document
    In this edition of “Emerging promising practices” UNHCR highlights the efforts that UNHCR and partners have taken to support refugee learners and students to continue their education and to support fa...
    Published: 13 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 13 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    Emerging Practices: WASH and COVID-19 field practices

    document
    The document details specific, innovative WASH programmes in UNHCR field operations in multiple country operations.
    Published: 12 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 13 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Key Messages on Applying IASC Guidelines on Disability in the COVID-19 Response

    document
    This document provides an overview of the factors that may put persons with disabilities at heightened risk in the COVID-19 pandemic and response in humanitarian settings.
    Published: 7 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 13 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    Preparedness, prevention and control of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for refugees and migrants in non-camp settings

    document
    Developed by WHO
    Published: 17 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 28 April 2020 (4 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Interim Guidance on COVID-19 for Outbreak Readiness and Response Operations - Camps and Camp-like Settings

    document
    IASC Interim Guidance on COVID-19 for Outbreak Readiness and Response Operations - Camps and Camp-like Settings
    Published: 23 March 2020 (6 months ago)
    Uploaded: 23 March 2020 (6 months ago)
  • Download

    UNHCR Cash Assistance and COVID-19: Emerging Field Practices

    document
    This document is a snapshot of the many innovative field practices emerging in light of COVID-19. UNHCR preparedness and response to COVID-19 is comprehensive including cash assistance as a quick and ...
    Published: 17 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 17 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Protecting Forcibly Displaced Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    document
    This brief provides a snapshot of child protection interventions by UNHCR and its partners during the pandemic, covering community engagement, case management, alternative care and capacity building.
    Published: 7 August 2020 (1 month ago)
    Uploaded: 7 August 2020 (1 month ago)
  • Download

    Supporting continued access to education during COVID-19: Emerging Promising Practices - Issue 2

    document
    In this edition of “Emerging promising practices” UNHCR highlights the efforts that UNHCR and partners have taken to support refugee learners and students to continue their education and to support fa...
    Published: 13 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 13 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    COVID-19: Emerging Practices. Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion

    document
    This document is a snapshot of emerging practices on livelihoods and economic inclusion to respond to the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Published: 31 May 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 8 June 2020 (3 months ago)
  • Download

    Livelihoods Short Guidance on COVID-19Response

    document
    UNHCR’sprimary objective in this crisis is to protect refugees who are exposed to COVID-19 and to protect the livelihoods of refugees during the crisis. This document provides points that could be tak...
    Published: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Surviving Disasters and Supporting Recovery: A Guidebook for Microfinance Institutions

    document
    Surviving Disasters and Supporting Recovery: A Guidebook for Microfinance Institutions
    Published: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Financial Inclusion Short Guidance on COVID-19 Response

    document
    This document is an annex to the Livelihoods Short Guidance on COVID-19 Response and is specifically addressed to UNHCR operations which have established partnerships with financial service providers ...
    Published: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Savings Group Risk Mitigation, Support, and Engagement in Relation to COVID-19

    document
    Savings Group Risk Mitigation, Support, and Engagement in Relation to COVID-19
    Published: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    MERS Guidance in Response to COVID-19

    document
    In this rapidly evolving context, we know it is important to continue providing updates of the latest thinking from MERS collaborators. Below are updates to the March 25 guidance on how the MERS Stand...
    Published: 12 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Supporting people and companies to deal with the COVID-19 virus:Options for an immediate employment and social-policy response

    document
    Supporting people and companies to deal with the COVID-19 virus:Options for an immediate employment and social-policy response
    Published: 25 March 2020 (6 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women

    document
    9 April 2020
    Published: 9 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 20 May 2020 (4 months ago)
  • Download

    COVID-19: Case Management, GBVIMS/GBVIMS+ and the COVID-19 pandemic

    document
    Guidance Note
    Published: 30 March 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 11 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    COVID-19: Gender-based violence prevention, risk mitigation and response during COVID-19

    document
    Developed by UNHCR
    Published: 26 March 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 8 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    COVID-19 Inter-Agency Guidance for the Management of the Dead in Humanitarian Settings

    document
    This inter-agency guidance was jointly drafted by ICRC, IFRC and WHO colleagues. It is targeted towards humanitarian settings and aims to complement other guidance on the management of the dead with a...
    Published: 19 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 28 July 2020 (1 month ago)
  • Download

    IASC Guidance on Operational Considerations for Multisectoral Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Programmes during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    document
    This guidance was drafted by the IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in Emergency Settings to complement the IASC Interim Briefing Note Addressing MHPSS Aspects of C...
    Published: 30 June 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 1 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Guidance on Basic Psychosocial Skills - A Guide for COVID-19 Responders

    document
    This illustrated guide, also developed by the IASC MHPSS Reference Group, aims at building basic psychosocial skills among all essential workers responding to COVID-19.
    Published: 24 June 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 1 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • UNHCR MENA - Mental Health and Psychosocial Response during COVID-19 Outbreak

    document
    This report from UNHCR's MENA bureau provides an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of UNHCR's persons of concern and UNHCR's activities in this regard to improve the mental healt...
    Published: 14 June 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 16 June 2020 (3 months ago)
  • UNHCR’s Emerging Practices on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

    document
    This document presents a brief overview of how UNHCR adapts its activities for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) to the changing context of the pandemic.
    Published: 11 June 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 15 June 2020 (3 months ago)
  • Download

    Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19

    document
    This Interim Guidance by WHO includes updated scientific evidence that is relevant to the use of masks for preventing transmission of COVID-19, as well as practical considerations.
    Published: 5 June 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 28 June 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    WHO Interim Guidance: Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19

    document
    Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19
    Published: 17 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 17 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    COVID-19: Emerging Practices. Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion

    document
    This document is a snapshot of emerging practices on livelihoods and economic inclusion to respond to the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Published: 31 May 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 8 June 2020 (3 months ago)
  • Download

    Livelihoods Short Guidance on COVID-19Response

    document
    UNHCR’sprimary objective in this crisis is to protect refugees who are exposed to COVID-19 and to protect the livelihoods of refugees during the crisis. This document provides points that could be tak...
    Published: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Surviving Disasters and Supporting Recovery: A Guidebook for Microfinance Institutions

    document
    Surviving Disasters and Supporting Recovery: A Guidebook for Microfinance Institutions
    Published: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Financial Inclusion Short Guidance on COVID-19 Response

    document
    This document is an annex to the Livelihoods Short Guidance on COVID-19 Response and is specifically addressed to UNHCR operations which have established partnerships with financial service providers ...
    Published: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Savings Group Risk Mitigation, Support, and Engagement in Relation to COVID-19

    document
    Savings Group Risk Mitigation, Support, and Engagement in Relation to COVID-19
    Published: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    MERS Guidance in Response to COVID-19

    document
    In this rapidly evolving context, we know it is important to continue providing updates of the latest thinking from MERS collaborators. Below are updates to the March 25 guidance on how the MERS Stand...
    Published: 12 April 2020 (5 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    Supporting people and companies to deal with the COVID-19 virus:Options for an immediate employment and social-policy response

    document
    Supporting people and companies to deal with the COVID-19 virus:Options for an immediate employment and social-policy response
    Published: 25 March 2020 (6 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Guidance on Operational Considerations for Multisectoral Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Programmes during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    document
    This guidance was drafted by the IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in Emergency Settings to complement the IASC Interim Briefing Note Addressing MHPSS Aspects of C...
    Published: 30 June 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 1 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Guidance on Basic Psychosocial Skills - A Guide for COVID-19 Responders

    document
    This illustrated guide, also developed by the IASC MHPSS Reference Group, aims at building basic psychosocial skills among all essential workers responding to COVID-19.
    Published: 24 June 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 1 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • UNHCR MENA - Mental Health and Psychosocial Response during COVID-19 Outbreak

    document
    This report from UNHCR's MENA bureau provides an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of UNHCR's persons of concern and UNHCR's activities in this regard to improve the mental healt...
    Published: 14 June 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 16 June 2020 (3 months ago)
  • UNHCR’s Emerging Practices on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

    document
    This document presents a brief overview of how UNHCR adapts its activities for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) to the changing context of the pandemic.
    Published: 11 June 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 15 June 2020 (3 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Interim Briefing Note on COVID-19 Outbreak Readiness and Response Operations - MHPSS

    document
    IASC Interim Briefing Note on COVID-19 Outbreak Readiness and Response Operations - MHPSS
    Published: 23 March 2020 (6 months ago)
    Uploaded: 23 March 2020 (6 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Interim Briefing Note: Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak (Greek)

    document
    This briefing note summarizes key mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) considerations in relation to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The brief was last updated February 2020.
    Published: 1 March 2020 (6 months ago)
    Uploaded: 17 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Interim Briefing Note: Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak (Dutch)

    document
    This briefing note summarizes key mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) considerations in relation to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The brief was last updated February 2020.
    Published: 1 March 2020 (6 months ago)
    Uploaded: 17 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Interim Guidance on Localisation and the COVID-19 Response

    document
    Developed jointly by IFRC and UNICEF in collaboration with IASC Results Group 1 on Operational Response Sub-Group on Localisation
    Published: 28 May 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 28 May 2020 (3 months ago)
  • Download

    How COVID-19 is changing the world: a statistical perspective

    document
    Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities, with contribution from UNHCR
    Published: 13 May 2020 (4 months ago)
    Uploaded: 15 May 2020 (4 months ago)
  • Download

    Overview of the Global Information Management, Assessment & Analysis Cell on COVID-19 (GIMAC)

    document
    Multi-stakeholder initiative by several UN organizations and international NGO partners
    Published: 11 May 2020 (4 months ago)
    Uploaded: 26 May 2020 (3 months ago)
  • Download

    Issue-Based Coalition (Europe and Central Asia): Key Messages and Advocacy Points on the COVID-19 outbreak.

    document
    Developed by Issue-based Coalition on Large Movements of People, Displacement and Resilience
    Published: 4 May 2020 (4 months ago)
    Uploaded: 20 May 2020 (4 months ago)
  • Download

    Protecting Forcibly Displaced Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    document
    This brief provides a snapshot of child protection interventions by UNHCR and its partners during the pandemic, covering community engagement, case management, alternative care and capacity building.
    Published: 7 August 2020 (1 month ago)
    Uploaded: 7 August 2020 (1 month ago)
  • Download

    The role of the Global Compact on Refugees in the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic

    document
    Guidance Note
    Published: 20 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 15 May 2020 (4 months ago)
  • Download

    Protecting Forcibly Displaced Women and Girls during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    document
    This document provides examples of UNHCR gender responsive and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention, risk mitigation and response interventions.
    Published: 16 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 17 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC Key Messages on Applying IASC Guidelines on Disability in the COVID-19 Response

    document
    This document provides an overview of the factors that may put persons with disabilities at heightened risk in the COVID-19 pandemic and response in humanitarian settings.
    Published: 7 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 13 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    Global Protection Cluster COVID-19 Situation Report

    document
    The report highlights the shifting narrative of the COVID-19 pandemic as operations are now reporting the rise in needs as a result of COVID-19's impact on economic and social factors.
    Published: 2 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 7 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    Checklist to Protect from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse during COVID-19

    document
    This checklist is to accompany the full IASC Interim Technical Note on Protection form Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) during COVID-19 Response.
    Published: 30 June 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 1 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    Communities Getting Involved - Supporting Community Leadership in the Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

    document
    This brief provides an overview of UNHCRs approach to engaging communities in the prevention and response to COVID-19, and draws on examples from the field.
    Published: 30 June 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 13 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    Emerging Practices: WASH and COVID-19 field practices

    document
    The document details specific, innovative WASH programmes in UNHCR field operations in multiple country operations.
    Published: 12 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 13 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    The IDP-Initiative Quarterly Update June 2020

    document
    The first quarterly IDP-Initiative Update focuses in this instance on UNHCR’s IDP engagement in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Published: 6 July 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 7 July 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    UN-IASC Light Guidance on Collective Outcomes

    document
    The UN-IASC Light Guidance on Collective Outcomes has been developed by WHO and UNHCR on behalf of the IASC Results Group 4 on Humanitarian-Development Collaboration and in consultation with the UN Jo...
    Published: 29 June 2020 (2 months ago)
    Uploaded: 29 June 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    COVID-19, Displacement and Climate Change

    document
    UNHCR and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research published this document to highlight the linkages between COVID-19, Displacement and Climate Change.
    Published: 24 June 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 24 June 2020 (3 months ago)
  • Download

    UN Comprehensive Response to COVID-19

    document
    The ‘UN Response’ is a comprehensive overview of the key support, advocacy and policy agenda the UN has rolled out as a whole system to date, and it also points the way to the crucial steps that must ...
    Published: 19 June 2020 (3 months ago)
    Uploaded: 28 June 2020 (2 months ago)
  • Download

    Global Humanitarian Response Plan Covid-19

    document
    May 2020 Update
    Published: 7 May 2020 (4 months ago)
    Uploaded: 13 May 2020 (4 months ago)
  • Download

    IASC: Interim Key Messages: Flexible Funding for Humanitarian Response and COVID-19

    document
    Developed by IASC Results Group 5 on Humanitarian Financing
    Published: 15 March 2020 (6 months ago)
    Uploaded: 8 April 2020 (5 months ago)
  • ...

    COVID-19 Temporary Measures and Impact on Protection

    UNHCR has launched the Global Protection Platform which portrays visually the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on aspects of the protection environment for the world’s forcibly displaced.

    Financial requirements (2020)
    $745,000,000
    Total appeal
    Date of Funding Data 9 September 2020 (16 days ago)
      Links
    A) Global Compact on Refugees
    Pledges and good practices related to health care, water, sanitation and hygiene
    B) Global Focus - COVID-19 situation
    UNHCR's Information Hub with updates for donors and supporters
    C) IASC COVID-19 Outbreak Readiness and Response
    IASC guidance and updates
    D) Protection - CBP Community of Practice (Global)
    Community of Practices for Community-based protection and engagement
    E) Protection - CBP Tools West Africa
    Communications with Communities tools and Practices
    F) Education in COVID-19
    Resources and tools for learning
    G) WASH
    Guidance and resources on WASH activities
    I) CCCM Cluster on COVID-19
    Cluster guidance for field operations
    J) Shelter Cluster on COVID-19
    Cluster guidance for field operations
    K) Global Information Management, Assessment & Analysis Cell on COVID-19 (GIMAC)
    Humanitarian multi-stakeholder initiative by several UN organizations and international NGO partners