Be Smart About South Africa

African Women Bear the Brunt of Lockdowns

Turkana women carry firewood on their head within Kalobeyei Settlement outside the Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana county, northwest of Nairobi, Kenya February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR warns hundreds of thousands of urban refugees across the East, Horn and Great Lakes region of Africa are resorting to desperate measures to survive as the economic impact of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, takes hold. Government-imposed lockdowns and curfews aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus are restricting everyone’s freedom of movement and ability to earn a living. The U.N. refugee agency says urban refugees are most seriously affected by the measures and unable to meet their most basic needs. Officials say many urban refugees are at risk of exploitation and falling into debt. He warns many may be forced to take desperate measures to survive, such as engaging in transactional sex or child labor.


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