The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Embassy of Japan in Hanoi have announced the provision of basic support to poor and vulnerable households in the Vietnamese provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, and Ca Mau for battling novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), UNDP said in a press release on Monday.
The support includes the provision of 1,300 packages of personal protective equipment and 1,300 water tanks for storage of clean water.
The initiative is part of the financial support from the people of Japan under the Japan Supplementary Budget to 11 countries in Asia and the Pacific, including Vietnam.
The UNDP is responsible for technical support and overall management and delivery of this assistance.
Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan are located along Vietnam’s south-central coast, while Ca Mau is the country’s southernmost province, situated in the Mekong Delta region.
All three provinces have suffered months of severe drought and saltwater intrusion.
Resident representative of UNDP in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen expressed his agency's delight to work with the Embassy of Japan and the government of Vietnam to provide some of the urgent COVID-19 protection needs for the people in the three provinces.
“This support is part of an integrated response to enable vulnerable households to meet their basic needs as they recover from the pandemic and ensure no one is left behind,” she stated in the press release.
Meanwhile, the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam was happy “to be a part of the effort to provide basic requirements for the prevention of COVID-19.”
“We hope that our contributions will be used to help vulnerable households affected by COVID-19 and to make a real difference, especially, in the three provinces in Vietnam,” the embassy said.
The most recent UNDP assessment of the multiple impacts of COVID-19 and droughts on Vietnam’s south-central coastal and Mekong Delta provinces shows the poor, near-poor, and vulnerable households, including small-holder farmers and informal workers, are among the most affected.
In detail, the combination of COVID-19 and drought or saltwater intrusion reduced household-level revenues by 55 percent, with an average of 54 percent of the households in Bac Lieu, Binh Thuan, and Ca Mau facing extreme impacts.
Also, during COVID-19 social distancing periods, poor households spent significantly more on water, electricity, and food, leading to some having to sell their livestock for money.
As a result, the poor and near poor currently have limited ability to provide for the basic needs of their families, including their capacity to prevent COVID-19.
They lack the resources to procure water storage or hygiene items that are essential for protection against the novel coronavirus.