Members of the Mindanao Humanitarian Team in Iligan conducted a need assessment of Marawi continuing humanitarian needs.
Dengue cases are increasing in the Central Visayas region, where there are over 7,300 dengue cases with 43 deaths in first five months in 2019.
As the number of measles cases decline, the risks of a current outbreak is now set to moderate at the national level.
Humanitarian partners assess Marawi continuing humanitarian needs
In a tent draped with brightly printed fabric and strewn with rugs, over a dozen women are huddled together sharing their stories. They tell of their struggles of living in tents for the past two years, of their children’s schooling interrupted, and the sacrifices they’ve made as mothers of families caught in conflict. They also ask difficult questions that demand answers: “How long until we can go home?” and “How can they say we are in recovery when we are still in tents?”
Over two years since the beginning of the Marawi conflict, more than 66,000 people remain displaced, with a majority staying with host families, while over twenty per cent are still in evacuation centres and temporary shelters, waiting to return home. The remaining displaced are from barangays (neighbourhoods) in Marawi City that were destroyed in the fighting, some still littered with unexploded ordnance rendering them uninhabitable. As the Government focuses on clearing the debris and on rehabilitation of these areas, those unable to go home will continue to require humanitarian assistance.
Coordinated needs assessment of the UN, international and national NGOs
From 10-12 June, members of the Mindanao Humanitarian Team in Iligan set out to interview IDPs and conduct focused group discussions in locations where over 14,000 displaced people are temporarily staying. Over twenty humanitarian organizations visited five evacuation centres - Sarimanok 1, Sarimanok 2, Buadi Ittowa, Capitol, and Saguiaran - and eight temporary shelters - Sagonsongan, Angat Buhay, Boganga, Bahay Pag-asa 1 and 2, Bakwit Village, Pantaon, and Rorogagus.
As humanitarian community faces dwindling resources for the Marawi response, local NGOs have often remained the only constant and have been instrumental in assisting the Government to address the immediate needs of IDPs. Some of the NGOs based in Marawi, such as MARADECA and CFSI, were displaced themselves during the conflict and kept operations running in Iligan City until their return in 2017.
Initial results indicate worsening water, sanitation and shelter conditions
During the assessment, it was observed that most of the tents and WASH facilities in IDP camps were dilapidated. The IDPs reported that access to facilities at night time and during rain is challenging. Overcrowding in shelter units with minimal to no partitions has elevated the risk of sexual and gender-based violence. The majority of IDPs in the evacuation centres expressed a need for consultation before their transfer to transitory sites.
With the school year about to begin, access to education will be a continuing challenge for many children. Students are in need of support to cover for travel expenses from the IDP camps to schools. The assessment also identified the need for Camp Coordination and Camp Management structures in IDP camps to facilitate good management of camps and temporary sites. Updated information boards are needed to keep IDPs informed on government and NGO projects.
The Food, Agriculture and Livelihood cluster (FSAL) has flagged the lack of adequate food support in IDP camps and return areas. The Department of Social Welfare and Development has provided sharers and homeowners of the most affected areas with financial support intended for food and livelihoods, but the IDPs reported that the majority of the money is being used for the payment of debts and school fees.
The consolidated results of the joint assessment were shared with the Marawi City government officials and it was agreed that WASH concerns have to be addressed in order to prevent the outbreak of diseases in IDP camps.
Living in tents and temporary shelters, women and children remain the most vulnerable
Caironisa is 27 years old and has been living in newly built Boganga temporary shelter for the last two months. She has a three-year old son and together with her husband, manages a small sari-sari store in front of their shelter. Water is trucked in daily to the site by a programme of Action Against Hunger with the Marawi local authorities. She says that it is for domestic use. “We buy mineral water for drinking, which is stretching our earnings from the store. We don’t get a lot of foot traffic because the Boganga site is far from the market or city centre. The only people who will buy from the store are the other displaced families. CFSI’s livelihood programme provided them with equipment to start the store, which included a refrigerator. “We are thankful for the help to get us started with earning money, since the food assistance has stopped and we are not sure when will be able to go home. We had a small business before the conflict, my husband would buy and sell used trucks.”
Humanitarian needs remain as early recovery continues
In seeking long term solutions for Marawi communities impacted by conflict, all levels of government, civil society, national NGOs, private sector, development partners and international organizations need to continue working together in close cooperation. The Humanitarian Country Team, composed of in-country UN agencies, international and national NGOs, and the private sector, are revising the 2019 Humanitarian Response and Resource Overview document for the Marawi conflict, to address the residual humanitarian and early recovery needs of about 300,000 beneficiaries in support of the Government-led efforts.
Investment in livelihood opportunities, education and long-term housing solutions for displaced people are underway, but in the meantime, humanitarian needs still need to be addressed not only in evacuation centres and temporary shelters, but also for those staying with host communities.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.