The Eastern Shan State Rural Development and Inclusion Project, MYA/002, works in 89 target villages with approximately 16 700 people. The targeted population consists of 100% ethnic minorities emerging from very insecure conditions (acutely remote, high altitude, former no-travel zones) and/or damaged areas (earthquake). These communities have very limited access to services and are totally reliable on self-sufficient agricultural and livestock production for survival.
Commonly, this time of the year, the most vulnerable households are experiencing rice shortage which would be lessened via traditional coping mechanisms of finding daily wager work. These mechanisms are currently not available to the villagers in view of travel restrictions due to COVID-19 health and safety measures.
The Government of the Union of Myanmar has drafted a COVID-19 Response Plan consisting of 7 goals in which Goal 4 consists of Easing the Impact on Households via unconditional in-kind transfer to vulnerable households and at-risk population.
The target population of the MYA/002 project falls to 100% under the definition of vulnerable and at-risk population. In view of the uncertainty of when lockdown measures might be lessened, the onset of the rainy season and the ploughing of rice fields, the MYA/002 target population is in need of in-kind support for food security reasons to sustain strength (caloric in-take) and resilience of the individuals. From recent exchanges with beneficiaries, many households are already facing hunger and malnutrition, which will also heighten the health impact of a possible local COVID-19 outbreak.
MYA/002 supports all households in the target area with a 1-month ration of rice, oil and salt. Basic hygiene articles like soap will also be provided to support the COVID-19 prevention measures. The 1-month rice ration is renewable in case COVID-19 measures remain in place or destitute households need further support.
MYA/002 coordinates the distribution of the in-kind support via the General Administration Department’s village tract clerks, the village chiefs and the village development committees already functional in parts of the targeted area to ensure the equitable distribution of the rations to the households in each of the 89 villages.
The distribution started on 28 May 2020, the first 171 households of some 2 800 households were immensely grateful for the support even if they had to carry the rice bags on foot back to their village.
The delivery and distribution of more than 250 tons of goods will continue over the next few weeks in the MYA/002 project area.
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