Mahdi* lives in Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan and has become a friend as we have exchanged emails over the past year. He is caring for his mother, wife and 2 young children. I asked how the pandemic is affecting life for refugees in Jordan and this was his response:
It is difficult to talk about what happened during the last period with words in a few lines, but I will try to speak briefly and I hope to have written abley to explain what has happened.
With the beginning of frequent news about the appearance of a terrifying virus, hijacking lives and making life difficult for people in the world, people were aware of the danger that has come to them. Especially the speed of the spread of the virus was very terrifying and now the world has become like one city in one day. Everyone starts preparing. Everyone was watching the speed of the spread of the virus and watching with sadness and grief the situation in countries like Italy and Spain.
Jordan, from the beginning of the spread of the virus, was at the forefront of the distinguished countries in dealing with the virus. Jordan addressed all the residents on its land that the safety of all was a priority and that they would make every effort to prevent anyone from getting hurt. There was transparent talk that the spread of this disease would be disastrous so everyone must be responsible - everyone wherever they lived.
First was the beginning of the isolation procedure for those who came from abroad for 15 days, but the virus succeeded in infiltrating the interior. Here, a new, more stringent phase began, which was the total self-isolation in cities and everywhere. When someone was infected, sick spots were targetted. The government stopped all border crossings and airports except for foodstuffs. In the field and cities people adhered to the rules. That made way for epidemiological investigation teams to work to trap the affected areas. This was a great effort and the government also worked to secure the basic needs of people.
Everyone was responsible, and Jordan was really distinguished. It was wonderful day and night, until the disease was trapped and ended inside and at the borders. Hospitals were built and that was for quarantine and keeping people inside safe.
Jordan was fully aware that the environment of the camps and the refugees present in the camps were the weakest party. Therefore, the procedures started quickly to isolate the camp and work was done to secure all the needs of refugees to stay in safe areas from this epidemic. Food, water, and medicine - everything is available, even for the elderly who suffer from chronic diseases. Medicines were delivered to protect people from going out and risking exposure to disease. Tests were carried out randomly, continuously, to make sure the epidemiological situation was excellent. Indeed, Jordan proved a great example and they have our hearts with all thanks and gratitude.
Now that the disease has been besieged, life has begun to gradually return to normal with taking precautions and measures to prevent the return of the virus and risk a return to the beginning. People have partially returned to their work and markets to receive people and workers to their farms and factories, and everyone follows public safety measures to preserve the achievements through patience, commitment and great work of the country.
It was difficult at first. All of a sudden, everything stopped. The markets were empty. The roads were empty. Everyone no longer expected to hug his child, or communicate with relatives and friends because that might endanger him. The cause of the disaster, a life of face masks, sterilizers and gloves, of social separtions and precautions did not occur to the minds of people. All of this proves that a person is weak to the fullest extent. Therefore, a person must remember that this life is a quick journey that must draw a smile and peace in every place in it and leave a beautiful impact on the lines of this life.
I'm very proud of the wonderful and pioneering model presented by the people in Jordan. Everyone joined together and worked hard for everyone until everyone reached safety and we belong to safety for all the people of the earth and for all humanity. I hope that this ordeal will end for all and people return to their normal lives. We all sorrow and grieve over the souls that left this world. Our hearts are with their relatives, wishing them to rise again and heal the wounds in their hearts caused by the separation of loved ones.
*Name has been changed to protect identity.