Philippines

ACF International responds to needs of people displaced by conflict in southern Philippines

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COTABATO, Philippines – ACF International | Action Against Hunger responded to the needs of thousands of people displaced, including women and children, taking refuge in evacuation centers in Maguindanao in southern Philippines.

The displaced families fled the threat of conflict since February involving government security forces and armed groups in the restive southern Philippines.

ACF International, with funding support from UNICEF, has distributed clean drinking water, hygiene kits and put up emergency latrines in various evacuation centers in Shariff Aguak and Mamasapano towns in Maguindanao following assessments at the height of the hostilities.

“Our team, who have extensive knowledge of the context in Maguindanao, have provided water, sanitation and hygiene essentials to help protect over 700 families and children from preventable diseases, and continuously promote important hygiene awareness-raising activities,” said Javad Amoozegar, Country Director of ACF International.

The conflict has rendered over 60,000 people internally displaced, with a significant number of children trapped in challenging situations in evacuation centers.

“Based on what we've seen needs include food, shelter, water, sanitation. Children under five are the most vulnerable in these experiences. Ensuring these essentials are critical to reduce the burden of preventable diseases and under nutrition,” he added.

“Since the last week of March, we’ve reached out to the most vulnerable among them children under five, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, the elderly. Our goal is to fight hunger in dangerous situations that threaten women, men and children,” Amoozegar said.

Amoozegar also explained the conflict has provided a glaring fact about the generational experiences on displacement.

“We've talked to the displaced families who lost count of the number of times they have evacuated due to volatile situation in their communities. They worry of their children caught up in the challenging situation sheltering in vulnerable conditions,” he said.

"In the last 15 years of our work in Mindanao, we have witnessed how frightened families were forced to flee their village because of the insecurity, and far from their fields, their food was greatly reduced. Hundreds of children have become severely malnourished, particularly in Maguindanao as a result of the conflict,” Amoozegar stressed.

Since 2000, ACF has provided humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected families in Central Mindanao and to the disaster-affected population across the country, including Metro Manila. Currently, ACF is responding to Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the islands of Samar, Leyte and Panay, and the Zamboanga crisis, and is implementing development projects in Masbate, Surigao and Compostela Valley.

About ACF

ACF international | Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger and malnutrition. ACF responds to help vulnerable populations around the world through programs that empower communities to overcome the barriers standing in their way.

In the Philippines, ACF tackles the root causes of hunger, prevents outbreaks of life-threatening acute malnutrition, and helps the most vulnerable communities regain self- sufficiency through integrated programs in health and nutrition, care practices and psychosocial and care practices, food security and livelihoods; water, sanitation and hygiene; disaster risk management; good governance and advocacy while incorporating crosscutting issues such as gender, care for the environment, climate change adaptation and cultural sensitivity.

Our programs save lives and provide communities with long-term solutions to hunger and its underlying causes. We work in more than 45 countries and reach approximately eight million people annually.

For more information, please contact:

Rosa May de Guzman Maitem

Communications Manager

ACF International - Philippine Mission
Email: rmaitem@ph.acfspain.org
Tel/Fax: +63-(02) 840-1808; +63-(02) 659-3598
Cellular: + 63-998-560-5447