Analysing the spread of COVID-19 in refugee camps - an innovative tool

While people across the globe are trying to withstand COVID-19 and prevent lockdowns, many refugee settlements went in lockdown preventively to protect their inhabitants from the extremely high risk of an outbreak. Schools and markets were often closed or access was restricted, and limitations were imposed on travelling in and out of the settlements, also for humanitarian aid agencies. This had a major impact on the access to aid for the population in the settlements, while the effect of these measures on preventing the spread of the disease cannot be overseen yet.

What if we could test the implications of such policy measures in a safe environment? If we could test ways to avoid the spread of communicable diseases while ensuring access to much needed humanitarian aid?

Researchers from the Resilience Lab at the Delft University of Technology have developed a tool that provides insight in the spread of communicable diseases tailored to refugee settlements. While many other approaches model the disease spread top down, we acknowledge that a major driver is the behaviour of refugees and follow a bottom-up approach. The resulting tool provides insight in the following questions: How does COVID-19 spread through a population that undertakes key daily activities such as using WASH facilities? What is the effect of policy measures such as a lockdown, use of masks, or crowd control in queues?

You can read the report of the session and the PowerPoint slides used by the researchers here.

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