17.4 million * people of concern in the Middle East and North Africa * (2021 planning figures)
29,000 cases of COVID-19 reported among persons concerned by UNHCR since March 2020, including deaths
19 out of 19 countries in the MENA region have started COVID-19 vaccinations for refugees
In 2021, UNHCR and partners continued to provide support and protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and IDPs throughout the MENA region. This included support for access to health and education services and the provision of shelter and cash benefits, which remained crucial for concerned people; about 826,000 unique individuals were reached with emergency cash assistance for the COVID-19 response worth $ 43 million. In particular, UNHCR advocacy contributed to the inclusion of refugees in national COVID-19 responses throughout the region, including testing and treatment, and in all countries to COVID-19 vaccination.
During the year, UNHCR continued to support local COVID-19 health responses and awareness-raising activities through risk communication and community involvement, while vaccination campaigns were further intensified by national health authorities as booster shots were introduced by some to mitigate the spread of the virus.
In 2022, the UNHCR’s COVID-19 response will continue to focus on advocating for the inclusion of UNHCR – concerned people in national public health systems and other national responses. Given that a significant number of concerned people remain vulnerable and in distress, exacerbated by the pandemic, the UNHCR will continue to mitigate the negative socio-economic and protective effects of COVID-19, in particular through monetary programming and community outreach work. COVID-19 programming, including in the areas of protection, health, basic needs, WASH, shelter and camp coordination and camp management (CCCM), is integrated into the annual planning and presented in the Global Appeal, and an overview is available here.