Migrants in Need as COVID-19 Third Wave Worsens Pre-existing Vulnerabilities: IOM Thailand Launches USD4 Million Appeal
Bangkok – Over the past four weeks, there has been an increase in the number of requests for assistance from migrants in communities as well as in immigration detention facilities according to latest monitoring reports from IOM Thailand.
Food tops the list of needs for migrant workers and their families who have contracted COVID or who have had to quarantine. IOM is preparing deliveries of food and necessities for hundreds of vulnerable families in Thailand who otherwise would not have access to assistance.
To provide this urgent support, IOM Thailand is appealing for USD 4 million to support the inclusion of migrants in response and recovery activities in close coordination with the Royal Thai Government (RTG) and partners. Through this new appeal, the organization aims to tackle the health, social and economic consequences of the current crisis and ensure migrants are included in national preparedness, response and recovery efforts.
“Thailand’s response to the pandemic has been among the most successful and generous responses in the region. A number of relief packages have been rolled out to mitigate the negative impact of the crisis on people and the economy,” said IOM’s Thailand Chief of Mission Geraldine Ansart.
“However, these compensations do not benefit millions of migrant workers in the informal sector. Without material or financial incentives, migrants cannot afford to stay home and quarantine, they cannot come forward for testing or afford treatments or vaccinations. These are key elements to look into if we want to contain the spread of the disease sustainably,” Ansart added.
Food insecurity was already a concern expressed by many migrants before the third wave. Eighty-two per cent of migrants assessed by IOM teams in January 2021 reported that over the past month they had worried about not having enough food to eat due to the consequences of COVID-19 and over a quarter of the respondents have made significant reductions to their food consumption due to the economic consequences of COVID-19.
In addition, migrants reported not having enough income, psychological stress and debt. Over half of the sample surveyed reported being in debt at the time of interview.
IOM Thailand activities under the new COVID‐19 Strategic Response and Recovery Plan include active case findings in migrant communities, health assessment at points of entry, community outreach, direct assistance to migrants in need, health and mobility monitoring, support to vaccination campaign and efforts to counter xenophobia and misinformation, among others.