Remote Mon Villages Suffering Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

By Network Media Group
Thursday, June 04, 2020

A Mon rights group found many citizens living in remote villages in Mon State are experiencing severe food insecurity amid a nationwide lockdown intended to prevent infections of the novel coronavirus in Burma.

The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) has found that many people are suffering economic and social hardship due to travel restrictions, as well as the government’s failure to deliver food aid to remote locations in the state.

“Government and private assistance is not reaching remote villages and IDPs (internally displaced persons) camps in northern Yayphyu township, located in Taninthari Region, or in southern Ye township, in Mon State,” says Nai Awe Mon, HURFOM’s program director.

HURFOM surveyed more than 20 remote locations in Mon State and Taninthari Region to see how people are faring during the coronavirus pandemic.

Min Banyar Aek Von, HURFOM’s program coordinator, told NMG that many are concerned they will be left without any food during the rainy season. “It is difficult to travel to these remote villages during the rainy season. No one can work during the COVID-19 pandemic and no food has been saved.”

The New Mon State Party (NMSP) has identified nine villages in Yayphyu township requiring emergency food aid. On top of this, villagers face additional risks of malaria and landmines hidden in fields and by roadways.

“We want private donors and civil society organisations to provide assistance to the residents of these nine remote villages,” says Nai Banyar Lel, head of internal affairs for NMSP.

The ethnic armed groups said donors could bring food and essential supplies to villages or donate through the NMSP’s COVID-19 emergency response committee.

HURFOM screened a short documentary on the impacts of the lockdown on villagers living in southeast Burma and will publish a report soon.