In the nearly four months after the Myanmar coup in February, more people have been fleeing the country, or having to think of this option.
In early May, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released an update on the crisis: At least 10,000 people have fled across either Myanmar’s border to the west, to India, or to the south-east, across to Thailand since the Feb 1 coup. UNHCR has prepared relief items for more than 16,000 refugees, assuming it gets access to the refugees, especially at the border with Thailand. We talk to UNHCR’s Catherine Stubberfield about the situation, including the fact that Thailand is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Also in our news menu is a look at the race (and stumbles) toward more, and faster, vaccination in Southeast Asia. It’s lockdown season again: even Laos, spared the worst in 2020, is now in lockdown and has reported its first two deaths. Thailand has seen a record number of new daily cases, exceeding 9,600 on 17 May. It’s also shopping for just about all vaccine brands, aims to start mass vaccination in less than two weeks and – to vaccinate 70% of Bangkok residents in two months.
A Filipino student’s personal account below reminds us of the continued human toll of COVID-19, amid its massive resurgence across the world. The infodemic continues, but there are some creative efforts at addressing this, such as an online game-cum- lesson from Malaysia we report about.
To wrap up our story mix, we delve into the lack of women photojournalists in Southeast Asia’s newsrooms (“Can women do video?”), and an offbeat visual story on a team of Lao photographers’ discoveries in the remote villages of their country.
-Johanna Son, Editor/founder, Reporting ASEAN