Improving Water Infrastructure in Rakhine State

Civil unrest in Myanmar’s Rakhine state forced thousands of people into camps in 2012. Built in 2013 anticipating a much shorter stay, camp infrastructure, particularly for water and sanitation, increasingly needs maintenance. Mud and flooding created by Rakhine’s rainy season and the state’s location on the cyclone-prone Bay of Bengal further strain the fragile facilities, increasing the possibility of waterborne disease.  

In 2013, Relief International began addressing these issues in Myebon township, which is home to more than 3,000 displaced people. RI experts in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) partnered with camp residents to build latrines and to develop hygiene promotion activities. With funding from the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund and the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Relief International is building on a three-year UNICEF program to improve access to clean water and sanitation infrastructure in the camps and throughout the township. The project aims to:

  • Install and maintain a gravity-flow water system that will bring water closer to households in the camps
  • Clear drainage channels that carry water from holding ponds to camp WASH facilities
  • Maintain and repair bathing facilities, laundry facilities and latrines
  • Repair fencing to protect the water supply in the wider township’s six ponds 

Relief International also works to support the health of women and girls in the camp and in the neighboring Rakhine community. RI distributes feminine hygiene kits that include items such as sanitary napkins, laundry soap, body soap, toothbrushes and plastic combs. Women, girls, men and boys are also encouraged to participate in monthly hygiene workshops designed to address immediate water and sanitation concerns and the issues of vulnerable groups, such as children and pregnant women.