Migrants and mayors are the unsung heroes of COVID-19. Here’s why

Published in World Economic Forum

By Robert Muggah

 

In every crisis it is the poor, sick, disabled, homeless and displaced who suffer the most. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Migrants and refugees, people who shed one life in search for another, are among the most at risk. This is because they are often confined to sub-standard and overcrowded homes, have limited access to information or services, lack the financial reserves to ride out isolation and face the burden of social stigma.

Emergencies often bring out the best and the worst in societies. Some of the most enlightened responses are coming from the world’s governors and mayors. Local leaders and community groups from cities as diverse as AtlantaMogadishu and Sao Paulo are setting-up dedicated websites for migrants, emergency care and food distribution facilities, and even portable hand-washing stations for refugees and internally displaced people. Their actions stand in glaring contrast to national decision-makers, some of whom are looking for scapegoats.

 

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