The impact of COVID-19 on refugees and migrants in Somaliland

On 25 March 2020, the Somaliland government confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus. This triggered a quick succession of regulations that closed air, land and sea ports of entry, and led to the closure of most public spaces including mosques, schools, and restaurants. At the same time, other governments across East Africa implemented strict travel restrictions and widespread border closures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. These restrictions significantly impacted mixed movements hroughout the region, and many migrants were s tranded and unable to move on or to return to their countries of origin. The restrictions also disrupted the movement of refugees and migrants in mixed movements throughout Somaliland.

With the support of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in 2020 the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) collaborated on a partnership to strengthen the protection of people in mixed movements and to prevent the abuse of people on the move in Somaliland. Through MMC’s flagship primary data collection program, 4Mi, MMC collected systematic data directly from refugees and migrants at various entry and transit locations in Somaliland, which was used to understand the dynamics affecting movement and protection risks within the context of the pandemic.

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