Jelly, Thailand – Global Perspectives during COVID-19

At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 is difficult for so many people across the world. We are reaching out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We want to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation. 


Paul Cronin is a former British military officer who spent 20 years leading expeditionary operations in Africa, the Balkans, Middle East and Pacific before resigning his commission and moving into the humanitarian sector in 2012.

Since then he has worked with a number of International not for profit and UN agencies throughout Asia, West & Central Africa and the Middle East as a Country Director, Director of Programmes & Operations and Head of Region to implement complex humanitarian responses and international development programmes.


Paul reached out to Jelly, a Philippine national who has worked in the humanitarian sector in Thailand for many years.

Here’s her story:

“Despite Thailand and particularly Bangkok being widely perceived as a wealthy country with a thriving capital and a business hub with one of the strongest economies in S.E Asia, there is a huge wealth divide that perpetuates a large working-class section of society that exist on criminally low wages.

“There are tens of thousands of Myanmar refugees residing in detainment camps”

“These are the people who are now suffering the worst effects of covid-19 as despite best intentions, they generally live in cramped overcrowded communities which make it impossible to self-isolate or to afford protective equipment such as masks which leads to an increased spread of the virus.

“A further pressing issue for the humanitarian system in Thailand is the tens of thousands of Myanmar refugees residing within the 9 detainment camps along the Thai/Myanmar border.

” It will be incredibly difficult to halt the spread through the camp”

“The camps are situated within dense jungle and despite benefiting from limited medical clinics provided by international organisations, sanitation is poor and when rather than if the virus reaches the population it will be incredibly difficult to halt the spread through the camp, into the local community and through the incredibly porous border into rural Myanmar (Kayin State).

“Prior to the pandemic the government were in the process of closing the camps, however this has stopped, and very little information is being released by the authorities.”





Would you like to share your story of the situation/ challenges facing your country?

We are asking anyone willing to share to answer the following questions and send to – 

  • What is the situation like in your country?
  • What are some of the main challenges for people?
  • Are there any positive stories coming out of this situation that can be inspiration for others?  

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