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Virus Fears In Somalia's IDP Camps

In Somalia decades of civil war and unrest have displaced hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

Virus Fears In Somalia's IDP Camps

In Somalia decades of civil war and unrest have displaced hundreds of thousands of people across the country. In a refugee camp, for some of those forced to flee by famine and war, an outbreak of the coronavirus would be a disaster. Medical help is far away, most here cannot afford it anyway, and if they face complications there are certainly no ventilators to be found.

Somalia has not reported many cases of the virus, only three so far, but health workers are in a race against time, trying to educate people about basic hygiene and hand washing techniques.

Refugees in Mogadishu's Sayidka camp they say are terribly afraid of the consequences of coronavirus.

"Our fear is real and we are helpless," said Habiba Ali, a displaced single mother of six.

Having already lost their homes, assets and employment, the threat of the infection leaves many feeling helpless and vulnerable. The United Nations mission in Somalia said a contractor was among the three people who caught the virus.

The health ministry said the person was in the international compound at the Mogadishu airport where diplomats and aid workers are based.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The new coronavirus has caused a global pandemic that has sickened at least 605,000, killed 28,000 worldwide, crippled economies and forced restrictions on the movement of millions of people in an effort to stop the virus from spreading further and overwhelming health care systems.

(Picture Credit: representative image/AP)

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