The ICRC, together with its Red Cross partners, has mobilized to prevent and mitigate the spread of the virus in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States, with a focus on communities living in areas affected by armed conflict and violence, as well as in places of detention throughout the country.

Myanmar: ICRC response to COVID-19

Article 11 February 2021 Myanmar

Since March 2020, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in coordination with the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has adapted its humanitarian activities throughout the country to the new COVID-19 environment while supporting the Government of Myanmar and the communities affected by armed conflict and violence in their efforts to prevent and mitigate the risks associated with the pandemic.

Since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Myanmar on 23 March 2020, the ICRC, together with its Red Cross partners, has mobilized to prevent and mitigate the spread of the virus in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States, with a focus on communities living in areas affected by armed conflict and violence, as well as in places of detention throughout the country.

In parallel with its traditional humanitarian activities, the ICRC teams have swiftly developed a specific response to address the needs of the population particularly exposed to the risks of COVID-19, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), returning migrants, or people deprived of freedom.

To support families as they cultivate their own winter crops, ICRC supplied seeds and basic farming tools across 7 townships in Kachin state.
To support families as they cultivate their own winter crops, ICRC supplied seeds and basic farming tools across 7 townships in Kachin state.

The ICRC implements a multi-sectoral approach, which aims at strengthening primary public health services, increasing access to safe water and sanitation, and supporting the livelihoods of communities affected by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19. 

The ICRC also engages in awareness-raising activities with community leaders, ethnic armed and ethnic health organizations, religious circles and local media, as part of its comprehensive response.

The ICRC, together with the MRCS and the IFRC, is committed to pursue in 2021 its ongoing response to COVID-19 to ensure that no one is left behind, and that communities affected by armed conflict and violence receive the assistance and protection to which they are entitled to in line with International Humanitarian Law.

In addition to food rations, clothes, blankets and other essential household items, our teams have actively been conducting COVID-19 prevention and education sessions with families living in temporary sites in Rathedaung.
In addition to food rations, clothes, blankets and other essential household items, our teams have actively been conducting COVID-19 prevention and education sessions with families living in temporary sites in Rathedaung.

The following operational overview reflects activities in response to COVID-19 conducted by the ICRC in Myanmar, in coordination with the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) from March to December 2020.

Health response

193,800
People reached through 300 community awareness sessions in Rakhine State
230
State-run quarantine centres received hygiene supplies, medical equipment and technical assistance in Kachin and Shan States

Improving access to water, sanitation, and hygiene

75,000 and 15,000
Bars of soap and bottles of soap are distributed in Rakhine and Northern Shan States respectively
1,990
Handwashing stations are installed in IDP camps, health facilities, quarantine centres and township hospitals

Infection-control in detention and quarantine facilities

34,000
Detainees benefited from operations to disinfect premises in 10 places of detention
880
Released detainees in quarantine sites from Rakhine were supported with food, blankets and hygiene kits

Raising awareness of COVID-19

3.5 million
Facebook users reached with an #InfoAsAid digital messaging focusing on hygiene promotion and COVID-19 prevention
186,600
People engaged the ICRC on Facebook for more information or to share COVID-19 prevention messaging

(Left) With ICRC's support, 350 tailors produced 123,000 fabric face masks in just 2 weeks for displaced families in Rakhine State.

(Right) Throughout 2020, the ICRC - in cooperation with the Myanmar Red Cross Society - supported the Ministry of Health and Sports to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by facilitating the safe return of migrant workers in quarantine centres, providing basic amenities and essential hygiene items.

Partnering with Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS)

3,600
MRCS staff and volunteers provided with COVID-19 insurance coverage and specialized training on use of PPE and masks
152
Red Cross township branches financially supported with office administration costs during the COVID-19 response
In 2020, with the COVID-19 crisis, physical rehabilitation centres supported by the ICRC adapted their services. The centre in Myitkyina transformed to produce personal protective equipment for the Ministry of Health & Sports, and to support its frontline medical workers across Kachin State.
In 2020, with the COVID-19 crisis, physical rehabilitation centres supported by the ICRC adapted their services. The centre in Myitkyina transformed to produce personal protective equipment for the Ministry of Health & Sports, and to support its frontline medical workers across Kachin State.

Other activities with new COVID-19 protocols

2,000
COVID-19 prevention kits supplied to persons with disabilities
340
Tailors in IDP sites in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States produced 174,500 face masks for COVID-19 prevention — benefitted their livelihoods