To bring the commemoration of World Refugee Day closer to our persons of concern, UNHCR distributed core relief items to some 300 families in Marawi City.
Families being hosted at the Sarimanok evacuation center in Marawi City received core relief items and clothing. (© UNHCR/Martin San Diego)
On 20 June, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, marked World Refugee Day by distributing core relief items and clothes to families displaced by the Marawi conflict. The commemoration comes on the heels of the first anniversary of the five-month conflict, which saw the displacement of nearly 360,000 individuals.
To bring the commemoration of World Refugee Day closer to our persons of concern, UNHCR distributed core relief items such as blankets and plastic sheets to some 300 families who are being hosted at the Sarimanok evacuation center in Poblacion, Marawi City. Global partner UNIQLO also distributed clothes as part of its commitment to work with UNHCR in responding to the needs of displaced people throughout the world through its All-Product Recycling Initiative.
“World Refugee Day offers a renewed opportunity to bring light to the needs of some 40,000 families who remain displaced and in need of durable solutions more than a year since conflict first broke out in Marawi City,” said Michel Huyghe, who heads the Mindanao field office of UNHCR.
A year since the conflict, displaced and returned families alike continue to face significant challenges, such as lack of access to basic services and insufficient livelihood opportunities.
UNHCR Philippines Advocate and broadcast journalist Atom Araullo joined UNHCR and UNIQLO in distributing core relief items and clothes to displaced families.
“It’s a very critical time for all of us. All over the world there are millions upon millions of refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) who were forced to flee due to conflict, persecution, and violence. They are just like you and me: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. They never imagined this kind of situation is something they would face,” said Araullo.
“On World Refugee Day and every day, we continue to stand #WithRefugees. Please stand with us,” he added.
Across the globe, the number of individuals displaced by war, conflict or persecution has reached unprecedented levels for the fifth year in a row. According to UNHCR’s Global Trends report, released on the eve of World Refugee Day, worldwide forced displacement exceeded 68 million in 2017.
“One does not need to look very far to recognize that the number of forcibly displaced persons continues to escalate,” said Huyghe. “In the southern Philippines, some 270,743 individuals are currently in need of durable solutions.”
UNHCR continues to monitor their situation on the ground and support the Government-led response in addressing humanitarian gaps. In Marawi City, UNHCR has partnered with PhilHealth to assist displaced individuals in obtaining identification documents to address the restriction on their mobility. UNHCR also works with SMART Communications, Inc. in broadcasting updates to 9,700 individuals subscribed to an SMS-based infocast system. UNHCR has also rolled out a profiling project targeted to assist government programming in the recovery and rehabilitation of the city.
In the Philippines, UNHCR has maintained a presence for over 30 years, working on three pillars: providing durable solutions to refugees, ending and reducing statelessness, and empowering displaced families. UNHCR co-leads the Protection Cluster with the Department of Social Welfare and Development under the joint United Nations response to the situation of internally displaced persons in Mindanao in 2010.
Notes to the Editor: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, engaged broadcast journalist Atom Araullo as one of its supporters in 2017. He helps raise awareness on the work that UNHCR does for forcibly displaced populations and encourages support from the public for refugees, IDPs and other persons-of-concern to UNHCR.
For interview requests, please contact:
Sophia Dedace, Private Sector Partnerships Associate, UNHCR Philippines [email protected], +63 9173054901
Marmie Liquigan, Assistant Private Sector Partnerships Officer, UNHCR Philippines [email protected], +63 9173096532