Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 7 | August 2017

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 02 Aug 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Nearly 360,000 remain displaced by the Marawi conflict as government shifts from response to rehabilitation and recovery.

  • Displaced communities in Marawi convey their need for more information on their return and to be included in plans for recovery.

  • The Philippines continues to increase its capacity in urban search and rescue and to have a team classified under international standards.

  • OCHA's interactive pre- disaster profile of Philippine provinces and Mindanao displacement snapshot will be used on Agos, a disaster risk reduction platform.

Nearly 360,000 remain displaced by Marawi conflict

The fighting which began on 23 May in Marawi City between government forces and the Islamic State-linked Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group continues. As of 10 July, 16 barangays of the City were declared clear while four remained under the control of the attackers, according to President Rodrigo Duterte. Drone footage shows extensive damage to the commercial centre of the city.

The conflict has displaced nearly 360,000 people from Marawi City and surrounding municipalities as of 2 August, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reports. An estimated 90 per cent of the displaced people remain with relatives and friends while the rest stay in 75 evacuation centres. Nearly 90 per cent are concentrated in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte provinces, of which close to 30 per cent are hosted in Iligan City.

A call to scale up assistance to 77,000 people displaced in the east of Lake Lanao

Active fighting, limited road networks and transportation have hampered humanitarian organizations from reaching all of the municipalities that host internally displaced persons (IDPs). Of particular concern is the plight of more than 77,000 people who fled to municipalities in the east of Lake Lanao —from Masiu to Bubong —according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. They need timely and regular delivery of food and medical supplies yet a sense of “neglect and lack of support” is spreading due to the limited help they have received.

More than 160 humanitarian organizations that report activities to OCHA’s Who-does-What-Where database have so far concentrated their support to Iligan City and its neighbouring municipalities such as Balo-I, Pantar, Saguiaran and Pantao Ragat to which access has been regularly secured. They have yet to fully reach 12 of the 39 municipalities in Lanao del Sur that are hosting IDPs, or 26,200 people. Full and unimpeded access to all of the affected areas is essential for IDPs to access humanitarian assistance and services.

Displaced people voice a preference for cash assistance

Now in their third month of displacement, some IDPs have expressed preference for cash assistance over in-kind support that will give them the option of buying fresh food or meeting other priority needs of the family. A 43-year-old who fled with his wife and four children from Marantao municipality to an evacuation centre in Balabagan municipality says, “Cash would enable us to buy what we need, such as fresh produce. We are starting to develop skin rashes from eating the same meal provided in food packs for the last two months."

A number of good practices and lessons have been documented on cash transfer programmes that helped IDPs affected by the armed conflict that erupted in Zamboanga City in September 2013. Building on such experiences, the Philippines Humanitarian Country Team —comprising UN agencies, international NGOs and a national NGO network —is supporting DSWD to establish guidelines on standards for cash pay-outs and vouchers, cash-for-work programmes and other elements of cash transfer programming.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.