Fight against COVID-19 for the children of the IDP Camps Paletwa

Project Type: 
Country: 
Myanmar
Region: 
IDP Camps in Paletwa, Chin State
Status: 
Ongoing
Donor(s): 
YOU Foundation-Education for Children in Need, RTL, HOPE'87
Project Description: 

The overall project objective is to provide humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) in Myanmar. Therefore, it is essential to ensure the survival of IDPs and their children in the camps in Paletwa, Chin State, and to restore their human dignity through the construction of latrines, the provision of clean water and the implementation of WASH activities as the main measure against the spread of the COVID-19 virus for children and their parents.

The project in Myanmar encountered major challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the coup d'état in February 2021. Gatherings of several people have been dispersed, although crowds in a refugee camp are inevitable. Furthermore, all routes into the project area have been made impassable by the military to prevent any resistance and all banks remain closed, making it almost impossible to send project funds to Myanmar and forcing the project staff to carry money in cash. However, the project team managed to rent a vehicle to minimise the risk of theft or robbery and after intense negotiations, the authorities allowed the project team to drive into the project area.

Despite these challenges, the project team was finally able to start and successfully implement the COVID-19 awareness campaign for over 8,000 refugees in Paletwa Camp. The campaign will continue throughout the project period of 12 months, educating more than 8,000 children and adults in the camps and showing the benefits of various activities such as washing hands, wearing mouth and nose protection in enclosed public spaces, keeping distance wherever possible, but also explaining to people what the symptoms of a COVID-19 disease are and what actions to take immediately to avoid infecting others. Due to these hygiene training sessions, the COVID-19 preventive measures and the distribution of vitamin supplements and hygiene kits to the children and refugees, the physical condition of the IDPs has already improved noticeably.

In addition, so far, 25 latrines for women, 20 latrines for men and four latrines for disabled people have been constructed in four sub-camps in Paletwa Township for about 2,000 IDPs. This is especially important in order to provide access to clean latrines with correct faeces disposal, as new refugees arrive in the camps every day, making the situation increasingly precarious. Furthermore, about 2,200 IDPs now have access to the minimum necessary clean water for cooking, washing and personal hygiene. For this purpose, PVC pipes were laid, which lead into public water points and four water containers with 2,000 litres each were installed, which now serve as reservoirs.

Project Background: 

Myanmar currently finds itself in a dire situation, which is on one hand caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and, on the other hand, by subsequent restrictions due to the political problems. This has left the country in a state of great social and political unrest. Furthermore, Myanmar is one of the countries at highest risk of natural disasters in South East Asia, being prone to floods and landslides.

This overall situation has led to an increasing number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Myanmar, with over 18,000 people remaining displaced in the conflict-affected Chin state alone, where HOPE’87 is implementing its project. The humanitarian situation in this area remains dire, as the majority of displaced persons are unable to return to their homes due to ongoing hostilities. They continue to experience significant challenges in accessing basic needs due to various constraints, including limited humanitarian access. Across the country, there are about 3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Before the implementation of the project, the IDPs had to walk far in the camps in Paletwa to the rivers to fetch water. Personal cleanliness and hygiene, like taking a daily shower, was not possible and shortage of water badly affected the overall hygiene. With its humanitarian aid project, HOPE’87 therefore helps to ensure a coordinated approach to provide water, sanitation and hygiene as well as to respond to the nutrition and health needs of the internally displaced populations living in camps in Paletwa, Chin state, who are forced to live together on a very limited space.