COVID-19 Pandemic in Turkey: Analysis of Vulnerabilities and Potential Impact Among Refugees (April 2020) – Turkey

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Key Messages

Vulnerability to COVID-19 infection

• Nearly one-quarter (23%) of refugee households are at risk to COVID-19 due to exposure to two or more risk factors such as crowding in the home, insufficient access to water and hygiene items, and poor sanitary practices.

• The most common risk factor among refugee households is crowding in households with nearly half (45%) of refugee households having at least 3 or more people per sleeping room.

• The exposure to different risk factors considered for the analysis is not uniform among refugee subgroups and needs to be addressed with this in consideration.

• About one-third (32%) of refugee households are home to at least one member that is considered as high-risk (i.e. elderly members or those with chronic illness).

Access to information

• Household heads in about two-in-five households (38%) do not have a basic understanding of the Turkish language suggesting they may not benefit from COVID19 information on mainstream media.

• Almost all refugees (98%) own either a smartphone, T.V, or a computer. However, about one-in-four households (23%) do not have access to internet or a satellite dish, suggesting communication through mainstream media may not necessarily reach all refugees directly.

Likely changes in poverty and food insecurity levels

• Despite the expectation that measures implemented to control the spread of the pandemic would lead to price hikes and scarcity of commodities, the macro-economic environment has remained stable. However, the opportunities for refugees to earn any income have decreased considerably with the reduction in labour opportunities, especially casual work, and the movement restrictions during times of lockdown.

• Consequently, there has been only a marginal change (<2%) in the in the cost of the MEB since January 2020. If the condition remains stable, no significant change is expected in the MEB cost in the short term.

• Increases in economic vulnerability among refugees will therefore be driven by the loss of employment with daily wage earners in the informal sector worst affected.

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