On September 28, 2021, the United States donated food and hygiene packages valued at over $100,000 USD to the Provincial Emergency Operations Committees in Khammouane and Savannakhet provinces. The supplies, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through Save the Children in Laos, will be distributed to quarantine centers to support returning migrants in the two provinces.
Currently, Lao PDR is experiencing high occupancy rates in quarantine centers, with approximately 7,500 people in quarantine, of whom almost half are women. The donation from USAID will ensure that people in the quarantine centers have food, sanitation, and hygiene supplies. Each person will receive a package which includes a reusable mask, soap, hand sanitizer, and other hygiene supplies, as well as canned food, and drinking water.
U.S. Ambassador to Lao PDR, Dr. Peter M. Haymond, congratulated the Government of Lao PDR on its successful efforts to keep the public safe from COVID-19, and highlighted the growing U.S.-Lao Comprehensive Partnership, which commemorates its five-year anniversary this year. “We are proud of this timely donation, which will assist quarantine centers to provide essential hygiene and food supplies to migrant returnees during this difficult time.” stated Ambassador Haymond. “The United States will continue to partner with the Lao PDR to address the impacts of COVID-19 on health, the economy, and education, all of which will help Lao PDR build back better beyond the pandemic.”
This support is one of the many contributions from the United States to the Lao PDR to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United States has provided assistance valued at over US$10 million to support the Lao government in the fight against COVID-19. In July 2021, the United States donated more than one million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the Lao PDR as part of President Biden’s efforts to end the pandemic around the world. Prior assistance from USAID supported Lao PDR to train frontline workers, nurses, and doctors, provide medical and laboratory equipment, reopen schools safely and help children throughout Lao PDR continue to learn. USAID works in close collaboration with the Lao PDR government through a wide range of programs designed to improve health, nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene, facilitate trade and investment, strengthen the rule of law, mitigate the impact of COVID-19, strengthen the education system, and counter trafficking in persons in Laos.