UNICEF supports newly displaced populations in Rakhine State of Myanmar
Intensified fighting in Rakhine State since February of this year has created serious protection concerns for children. Over 69,000 individuals have fled their homes, finding refuge in local monasteries, villages and community houses. Since the conflict escalated, 150 temporary displacement sites have been established across 10 townships in Rakhine and this number continues to rise.
Many have experienced severe hardship, including being forced to flee their homes without warning. Without clothes, personal hygiene products or food, they are relying on the generosity of local communities.
For people living in Rakhine State, the multi-faceted threat of the conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a disproportionate burden on their day to day life. Due to the developing situation of the pandemic and increasing insecurity, providing the much-needed support to children and families is difficult. Nevertheless, UNICEF has provided a rapid response to reach affected populations and establish measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in new displacement sites.
For humanitarian teams on the ground, they are gradually finding new ways of working during the pandemic. At displacement sites, staff are ensuring distribution of essential items follows the Ministry of Health and Sport COVID-19 guidelines and are sharing key messages about the pandemic with affected populations, including hand washing and wearing masks
Through its implementing partner, Save the Children, and a local civil society organization, UNICEF has distributed 702 Child Protection Kits, which include essential items such as clothing and hygiene products, to 11 new displacement sites, reaching over 1,700 children in central Rakhine State. Psychosocial support activities for children include playing games, painting, discussions, song-time and toys, and COVID-19 awareness raising materials have also been mobilized. As of the end of March, Community Family Services International had provided similar support to 861 children in 10 new displacement sites in northern Rakhine State.
UNICEF and its implementing partners will continue to provide crucial child protection services to newly displaced children, as well as other children in need. UNICEF is committed to ensuring the rights of every child, everywhere and at all times - regardless of ethnicity, race, citizenship status of their parents, socio-economic status or ability.