Inside one Duhok refugee camp under coronavirus lockdown

24 March 2020Associated Press Video editing by Sarkawt Mohammed/ Rudaw English

DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – Syrians in a refugee camp in the city of Duhok have to live with a new reality: a lockdown.The Duhok governorate, which lies in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, has placed all camps on lockdown because of the new coronavirus.
Shops are closed and movement is restricted in the Domiz camp for Syrian refugees as the new coronavirus introduces drastic changes to people’s lives.The camp, home to 28,000 Syrians, is located in Duhok governorate in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq.
Like all other refugee and IDP camps in the governorate, it has been placed under lockdown because of the virus.

As people learn to adhere to the new rules, they are suffering.

Refugee Um Ahmad says conditions are “very tiring”.

“No one can go to work, no one is able to provide anything, and no one can go outside,” she adds.

Hushiyar Abdullah, a worker at a non-governmental organisation in the camp says restrictions on movement have impacted people’s livelihoods, especially day laborers.

“They lost their income,” he says.

Others have lost their jobs because they cannot reach their places of work due to road closures, Abdullah adds.

Because of the lockdown, all activities inside the camp have come to a standstill.

Work that was carried out by local and foreign aid organisations, including the distribution of food baskets and fuel, has stopped.
Duhok hosts hundreds of thousands of displaced people, all of whom are affected by the lockdown.
The governorate has 16 camps for 500,000 internally displaced people and five refugee camps, hosting over 92,000 Syrian refugees, according to the Board of Relief and Humanitarian Affairs. Most patients who contract the new coronavirus develop only mild symptoms and recover after about two weeks.

But the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by those with no visible symptoms.

For older adults and people with underlying health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.