This COVID19 Rapid Response 2020 project is a cooperation between the Institute for Urban and Regional Research and the Institute for Social Anthropology. Both institutes bring in contacts with migrant organisations and many years of research expertise in the Syrian (ISA) and the Afghan community (ISR).

Refugees are among those most at risk by COVID-19. Already in the countries of origin before and during the flight, they were often in settings that can be described as a “state of emergency”. Again, they are now exposed to a state of emergency. "Social distancing" is the main strategy to avoid the risk of infection. How do refugees deal with this challenge? As beneficiaries of asylum or subsidiary protection, they often live in cramped living conditions. On the other hand, social networking within the groups of origin and with Austrian contact persons (e.g. friends, mentors, German teachers, employees of NGOs) is one of the most important integration strategies.

In the urgency of the current situation, the reactions of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan to the COVID-19 crisis and the diverse changes in all areas of life are researched. New structures are emerging in the communities, which are characterized by the integration of online communication (spiritual offers, support for everyday tasks, discussion forums). In addition, the current experience of refugee relief facilities is taken into account. The data collection is based on a mixed-method approach, which includes community-based participatory research (CBPR) elements and leads to a multi-step analysis.

Project team: Maria Six-Hohenbalken, Sabine Bauer-Amin, Ola Laila, Mohammed Nour Zena

Cooperation: Josef Kohlbacher, Marie Lehner (ISR)

Duration: 01.05.2020-30.06.2022

Financing: WWTF, ISA