February 22, 2016
MANILA – Around 2,400 people displaced in Surigao del Sur received one-month food supplies and hygiene items to help them cope with their displacement since September 2015.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with its primary partner the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), distributed the relief items on February 18 to complement the aid already given by the authorities.
"Prolonged displacement is a challenge for both the affected families and the authorities. The displaced depend on aid as they still fear going back home," said Pascal Porchet, head of the ICRC delegation to the Philippines. "We are here to fill in gaps and ensure that the families get adequate support while they remain displaced."
The majority of the displaced have been living in the provincial sports complex in Tandag City for over five months now, after three civilians were killed in their community.
"We have been here since September 1, 2015, and we still fear for our safety," said Leonila Enriquez of Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga municipality. "We are very grateful to the ICRC for helping us since the early part of the displacement until today," said the mother of eight children.
While the general health situation in the sports complex is managed well by the Provincial Health Office, cases of stomach problems and diarrhea were reported. A probable cause is poor hygiene and sanitation in the evacuation center.
Between September 2015 and January 2016, the ICRC and the PRC already helped 3,500 displaced persons in Surigao del Sur with food, household and medical items, potable water supply, and construction of toilets in the evacuation center.
The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose mandate is to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. It has had an established presence in the Philippines for over 60 years and a permanent presence in Mindanao since 1986.