The Impact of COVID-19 on the Middle East

Coronavirus has devastated China, caused havoc in Italy, and shut down the U.S. and most of the Western World.  But few countries are as vulnerable to this global bug as those of the Middle East. The virus arrived in Iran in late February.  By March, despite spreading into other countries, the case number remained low. Now, like the rest of the world, the Middle East suffers from thousands of new cases a day.  And in this region, the effort to stop COVID19’s spread is impacted by civil wars, unstable governments, and refugees who have nowhere to go.

As of April 30, 2020, there are 73,993 confirmed cases in the Middle East. While Turkey is the hotspot for the virus in the region, the situation in Syria is especially alarming. Syria has millions of refugees and refugee camps that make social distancing impossible.  People and families are being told there is no way to test for the virus.  And to complicate an already challenging situation, far-right militants in Turkey have cut off the water supply for 460,000 people.

Due to the pandemic, the region’s economy is suffering greatly. With the borders closed, countries such as Egypt that rely heavily on tourist revenue are troubled. Sinking oil prices are another great economic burden, since it is the main export for some of the countries in this region.

COVID-19 has affected everyone, but persecuted Christians and other refugees are among those most affected. With borders closed, some refugee boats are currently stranded at sea, waiting for a country to let them in. Refugees in camps are also greatly impacted. As in Syria, millions of persecuted Christians and other religious refugees across the Middle East are without necessities right now. Moreover, and cause for further alarm, it has been reported that refugee camps lack even the most basic hygiene necessities, such as running water and soap.

In the West, being without these basic necessities, even in a pandemic, is very rare. Sadly, that is not the case for much of the Middle East. In places like Syria, Jordan, and Iran, being without soap, water, and toilet paper is the norm.  Your donation will help The American Foundation for Relief & Reconciliation in the Middle East provide life-saving hygiene articles to persecuted Christians and other religious refugees at this desperate time.

American FRRME is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes reconciliation, provides relief efforts, advances human rights, and seeks an end to sectarian violence in the Middle East.

To make a donation to American FRRME, please visit