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UNHCR and Unilever team up to fight coronavirus in Myanmar

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UNHCR and Unilever team up to fight coronavirus in Myanmar

11 June 2020
UNHCR Supply Assistant, Oo Tun Kyi, inspects the delivery of 608,000 soaps to UNHCR's Yangon warehouse. The donated hygiene items from Unilever will be dispatched to Rakhine, Kachin, northern Shan and the South East of Myanmar in support of the COVID-19 response.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and Unilever are working together to enhance sanitation and hygiene for families in need in Myanmar, including those in displacement settings and host communities. The multinational company has donated some 608,000 bars of soap to prevent COVID-19.

“Handwashing remains the most basic yet effective way to prevent the disease spreading,” said Cecile Fradot, Representative ad interim for UNHCR in Myanmar. “Ensuring those most vulnerable can clean their hands, can save lives, and I thank Unilever for this generous donation.”

Displaced people are among the most marginalized and vulnerable members of our community. They are particularly at risk during this coronavirus outbreak as they often live in close quarters with inter-generational families and may face limited access to water and sanitation systems and health facilities.

The hygiene items have been dispatched to Kachin, northern Shan, Rakhine, as well as Kayah and Kayin states, and will be distributed in camp settings for displaced families and other communities in need. They will also be distributed to support health departments and local authorities mitigate against the infection and spread of COVID-19.

“This donation is part of Unilever’s global commitment to contribute our hygiene products to UN Agencies up to the value of €50m until the end of 2020. This in-kind donation is essential as it provides products that the Agency would otherwise have had to source and purchase, allowing for cost savings and a reduction in the delivery time,” said Srikanth Srinivasamadhavan, Managing Director of Unilever EAC Myanmar Co. Ltd and Vice President of Unilever Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. “We share the view that keeping the most vulnerable safe means keeping everyone safe.”

The timing of the Unilever donation is critical, as UNHCR scales up its emergency response to the global pandemic, including awareness raising activities and the provision of direct support to Ministry of Health and Sports and State Health Departments across the country. The donation forms part of a global contribution of more than 30 million bars of soap and other items to approximately 40 UNHCR operations worldwide, to help refugees and others who were forcibly displaced prevent COVID-19.

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