Breaking point: How the coronavirus pandemic will push fragile states towards catastrophe in 2021
Disaster Emergency Committee
This report examines the impact of Covid-19 so far and what the year ahead holds for the world’s most fragile states – Yemen and Syria in the Middle East; Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Africa; Afghanistan in Asia – and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Evidence comes from DEC-commissioned independent Response Reviews in these seven places, interviews with country directors and senior staff from the 14 DEC charities as well as UN representatives in these fragile states, and a survey of senior staff at DEC charities on the ground and their local partners.
The central findings of the survey are alarming. Almost all (98%) agreed that the pandemic had worsened the humanitarian crisis in their respective countries, with three quarters (73%) saying it is the worst it has been in the last 10 years. It is easy to underestimate levels of coronavirus in these fragile states. Covid-19 cases and deaths are substantially underreported due to lack of data, stigma and fear to the extent that the true picture is not known. Nonetheless, already fragile health services are being disrupted and overwhelmed, despite the fact that many people are too scared to go to health centres or hospitals for fear of catching the disease, or stigma of being thought infected. Others are reluctant to attend in case they are caught up in violence on the way.