PIN provides emergency assistance in Rakhine StatePublished: Aug 5, 2020 Reading time: 3 minutes
The ongoing conflict between the Myanmar Armed Forces and the Arakan Army in Myanmar’s Rakhine State has newly displaced more than 86,000 people. The conflict puts pressure on those who are forced to flee their homes, as well as on the communities hosting the displaced.
For this reason, between July 2019 and April 2020, People in Need (PIN), together with its consortium partners, delivered humanitarian assistance to communities affected by the conflict in Central and Northern Rakhine State. Project partners included People for People (PfP), Consortium Dutch NGOs, the Community Development Association, Christian Aid, the Phyu Sin Saytanar Action Group, Community Care for Emergency Response and Rehabilitation, the Thazin Community Development Institute, and PIN.
The joint intervention was funded by the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund, managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and supported by in-kind contributions from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children's Fund, and the International Organisation for Migration. The project delivered a holistic support programme, including tools for sustainable behaviour change and the reduction of risks and vulnerabilities. Lifesaving assistance was also provided in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), child protection, education, and nutrition across a wide geographic setting.
Latrines, tanks, and hygiene kits for thousands of displaced people
The lack of adequate WASH facilities has been a major concern in areas with large populations of internally displaced people (IDPs). In response, consortium partners built 308 latrine blocks and 11 tube wells, and distributed durable water filters and hygiene kits to 2,508 IDPs in the townships of Mrauk U, Minbya, Kyauktaw, Ponnagyun, and Buthidaung. In areas where water sources are far from the IDP sites and/or the amount of water from these sources is insufficient, the consortium constructed 39 rainwater collection tanks in five townships.
In order to promote hygiene awareness and good hygiene practices, as well as to provide privacy and dignity for the displaced, PIN constructed public bathing spaces for women in seven displacement sites within the Mrauk U Township.
Additionally, PIN, together with PfP, distributed shelter and non-food item kits to 880 households. Thermal blankets were provided to 1,402 households as part of a winterisation effort.
Saw Eh Gaw Htoo, PIN’s Emergency Project Coordinator, explains: “Through the nutrition intervention, we worked with our partners to help communities prevent acute malnutrition and severe acute malnutrition. Infant and young child feeding practices were promoted through support groups for mothers; we reached 1,003 pregnant or lactating women.”
“Additionally, 51 nutrition volunteers were trained in basic malnutrition knowledge, enabling them to identify and prevent the malnutrition of conflict-affected children,” he says.
During the project, screenings of mid-upper arm circumference identified eight cases of severe acute malnutrition and 125 cases of moderate acute malnutrition. Four of the severe cases and 112 of the moderate cases were referred to health facilities, with the project covering transportation, accommodation, and food expenses.
To help alleviate some of the financial pressure on conflict-affected families, 9,526 children were provided with school uniforms as part of the project. To improve the children’s well-being, schools were provided with 113 recreation kits and 105 Life straw water filtration systems. The programme also oversaw the building of 37 school latrines.
“In the Ponnagyun, Mrauk-U, Minbya, and Kyauktaw townships, the consortium’s partners promoted children’s rights and empowered community members to shield children from abuse, discrimination, violence, and neglect,” says Saw Eh Gaw Htoo. “To enhance the children’s well-being, child-friendly spaces were established across IDP camps where children could be left to play under the supervision of trained community members.”