See the latest information and resources from Elrha in relation to coronavirus (Covid-19)

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Principal Investigator: Dr Jason Hart (University of Bath)


This research seeks to address the current lack of evidence base about the response of refugee camp communities to public health directives established in response to COVID-19 in Gaza. The project will explore the consequences of a ‘stay at home’ policy in densely overcrowded and impoverished communities under threat of conflict-related violence where water is scarce and access to protective equipment such as masks very limited.

The project has been designed with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as the main health, education and sanitation service provider in the camps.

Research will provide UNRWA and other agencies with:

  • data on understanding of the virus and measures for containing it;
  • self-protection behaviours in adverse circumstances and how these could be supported; and
  • the implications of containment measures for wider protection concerns.

To the best of the research team’s knowledge, this is the first study of the social and behavioural aspects of COVID-19 in refugee camps in the Middle East.

Dr Caitlin Procter

Lead Researcher (European University Institute)

"It is critical to understand how communities living in protracted displacement are managing COVID-19, particularly given that the pandemic is compounded in this context by the on-going Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip. This research will enable community perspectives surrounding the social and political life of COVID-19 to be at the core of the evolving humanitarian response to the crisis."

Expected Outcomes

The outcome of this research will be a better-informed response to COVID-19 in Palestinian refugee camp communities.

This will be achieved by building an evidence base of current community practices surrounding COVID-19, and data on the interconnection between public health measures and protection issues. These outcomes will directly inform the evolving COVID-19 response in Palestinian refugee camps, and will be achieved through the following outputs:

  • A findings report to be shared with relevant agencies working in Gaza
  • Communication flyers/posters in Arabic with key public health and protection messaging
  • A series of public health messages to be disseminated via sms beneficiary lists
  • An indicator tool for monitoring select Protection issues
  • At least one peer-review journal article co-authored by the core research team

Related Resources

Report COVID-19

COVID-19 in Gaza: Community Perspectives on the Pandemic

Latest Updates

Community engagement in Gaza amidst and about COVID-19

Apr 2021

Dr Mohammed Alruzzi a Research Associate at the University of Bath reflects on the dual challenge of COVID-19 and the blockade in accessing research participants in Gaza. Through engaging local community organisations, and creative use of WhatsApp, Skype, telephone calls and diary writing the community were successfully engaged in this research.

A man sprays disinfectant as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 in the streets of the Al Shatti refugee camp in Gaza. Photo credit: Mohammed Zaanoun, independent Palestinian photo journalist based in Gaza. Instagram @m.z.gaza
Soup distribution during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Gaza City in April 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo credit: Mohammed Zaanoun, independent Palestinian photo journalist based in Gaza. Instagram @m.z.gaza

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