Regional Bureau for the Middle East and North Africa: COVID-19 Response, 2021 Year-End Report (January – December 2021)

Key Figures

17.4 million* people of concern in the Middle East and North Africa *(2021 planning figures)

29,000 cases of COVID-19 reported among people of concern to UNHCR since March 2020, including fatalities

19 out of 19 countries in the MENA region have started COVID-19 vaccinations for refugees

Regional Developments

In 2021, UNHCR and partners continued to provide support and deliver protection and assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people (IDPs) across the MENA region. This included supporting access to health and education services, and providing shelter and cash assistance, which remained essential to people of concern; some 826,000 unique individuals were reached with emergency cash assistance for the COVID-19 response to the value of $43 million. Notably, UNHCR advocacy contributed to the inclusion of refugees in national COVID-19 responses across the region, including for testing and treatment, and in all countries for COVID-19 vaccination.

Throughout the year, UNHCR continued to support local COVID-19 health responses and sensitization activities through Risk Communication and Community Engagement, while vaccination campaigns were further reinforced by national health authorities, as booster shots were introduced by some to mitigate the spread of the virus.

In 2022, UNHCR’s COVID-19 response will continue to focus on advocating for the inclusion of people of concern to UNHCR in national public health systems and other national responses. Given that significant numbers of people of concern remain vulnerable and in hardship, exacerbated by the pandemic, UNHCR will continue to mitigate the negative socioeconomic and protection impacts of COVID-19, particularly through cash programming and community outreach. COVID-19 programming, including in the areas of protection, health, basic needs, WASH, shelter, and camp coordination and camp management (CCCM), are mainstreamed into annual planning and presented in the Global Appeal and an overview is available here.

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

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