Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in complex humanitarian crises Mar 21, 2020 By David LeblangDanielle N. PooleDaniel J. EscuderoLawrence O. GostinElizabeth A. Talbot Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in complex humanitarian crises Professor of Politics and Public Policy & Director of the Global Policy Center David Leblang Over 168 million people across 50 countries are estimated to need humanitarian assistance in 2020. Response to epidemics in complex humanitarian crises— such as the recent cholera epidemic in Yemen and the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo— is a global health challenge of increasing scale . The thousands of Yemeni and Congolese who have died in these years-long epidemics demonstrate the difficulty of combatting even well-known pathogens in humanitarian settings. The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) may represent a still greater threat to those in complex humanitarian crises, which lack the infrastructure, support, and health systems to mount a comprehensive response. Poor governance, public distrust, and political violence may further undermine interventions in these settings. Populations affected by humanitarian crises are expected to be particularly susceptible to COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, due to displacement, crowded housing, malnutrition, inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) tools, and stigmatization. Disease outbreaks further reduce access to limited healthcare, which is increasingly disrupted by attacks on health facilities and the persistent overburdening of health systems. These situations escalate both the necessity and the difficulty of delivering accurate and actionable information to potentially affected populations. Read article UVA partners Global Policy Center David Leblang David Leblang is the Ambassador Henry J. Taylor and Mrs Marion R. Taylor Endowed Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia as well as a Professor of Public Policy at the University’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Read full bio Danielle N. Poole Daniel J. Escudero Lawrence O. Gostin Elizabeth A. Talbot Related Content David Leblang Familiarity Breeds Investment: Diaspora Networks and International Investment Research What explains cross-national patterns of international portfolio and foreign direct investment (FDI)? While existing explanations focus on the credibility of a policy maker’s commitment, we emphasize the role of diaspora networks. The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Regimes in Transition Economies Research As Economy Struggles, What Can We Do? 3 Professors Will Discuss in Thursday Webinar News Batten's David Leblang joins Robert Bruner and David Smith to discuss the economic consequences of COVID-19 and possible policy responses during a public webinar. You Can Be a Good Neighbor and a Global Citizen During the COVID-19 Crisis News Batten's Kirsten Glesdorf and David Leblang, along with Alison Criss from UVA’s School of Medicine and Rebecca Dillingham from the Center for Global Health at the University of Virginia, write about actions to take to develop a preparedness plan and be a good neighbor during the COVID-19 crisis.