Coronavirus crisis 'increases suffering of most vulnerable refugees'

Research from the University of Birmingham has revealed that many undocumented migrants were anxious about seeking medical help – fearful of being reported to immigration authorities and being deported – and were therefore suffering in silence. Jenny Phillimore, the lead author of the research, said: “Some women and their children are going hungry and without medical care – they are entirely destitute and reliant on the generosity of neighbours, themselves struggling. “Social isolation is exacerbating multilayered traumas – no distractions mean women are reliving abuse episodes, increasing anxiety levels, sleep problems and leading to suicide ideation.” Tracy, 26, a Nigerian survivor of trafficking who lives in an International Organization for Migration shelter in Tunisia with her husband, Endurance, described life as becoming “unbearably difficult” since the beginning of the pandemic. Digital poverty confounded this issue, excluding many from participating in online meetings, resulting in many migrants spending long days alone. Legal status introduced a range of barriers – from no access to public funds and services to not being allowed to work or open a bank account.”