Thailand — COVID-19 Related Vulnerabilities and Perceptions in Mae Sot District, Tak Province (May 2020)

29 May 2020 Thailand Download

In light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Thailand, Thai and non-Thai populations face a new set of challenges and vulnerabilities. However, the extent to which these challenges and vulnerabilities are affecting local communities in key border provinces is unknown. It is also unclear whether these communities are receiving sufficient information about COVID-19 or have access to the resources which will allow them to maintain the hygiene and sanitation standards required for effective protection.

To fill this data gap and inform possible responses, IOM initiated a village-level data collection exercise in key border provinces to collect information on: 1) presence of non-Thai nationals, 2) vulnerabilities to COVID-19, 3) impacts of COVID-19 on livelihoods, food, and access to services, and 4) awareness and knowledge levels on COVID-19. 

Between 11 and 22 April 2020, 16 IOM staff (50% female) conducted phone surveys with a total of 408 key informants (KIs) located in Tak province and Ranong province. Information was collected at the village level in Mae sot district, Mueang Ranong district and Suk Samran district.

This report focuses on the results for Mae Sot district, in Tak province, Thailand, where a total of 241 KIs were interviewed across 1 municipality, 9 sub-districts, 85 villages and 18 communities.


  • The main barriers to proper sanitation and hygiene in Mae Sot district are the lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE), the high costs of PPE and the lack of knowledge on sanitation and hygiene practices.
  • The most affected services since the COVID-19 outbreak are livelihoods, water, electricity and transportation.
  • The main challenges since the outbreak of COVID-19 are unemployment, insufficient income, debt and wage reduction.
  • The main challenges for children since the outbreak of COVID-19 are limited or no access to education, insufficient food intake, and no social interaction with friends.
  • Due the effects of COVID-19, between 50 and 75 per cent of the population has experienced a partial loss of income.
  • Due the effects of COVID-19, between 25 and 50 per cent of the population has experienced a total loss of income.
  • Due the effects of COVID-19, in 62 out of 103 villages and communities assessed, some families had to significantly reduce the amount of food they consume.
  • There are some myths and misperceptions on COVID-19 in 33 out of 103 villages and communities assessed.



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