In 2020, COVID-19 changed our lives considerably. But this threat has disproportionately affected the people forced to flee their homes because around the world, conflicts have not stopped. Environmental disasters have not stopped.
Here in the Philippines, communities throughout Mindanao, particularly those in remote rural areas, continue to be affected by recurrent displacement due to armed conflict, crime and violence and natural disasters including flash floods and earthquakes. COVID-19 further compounded their exposure to protection risks – especially among those who are temporarily staying in camp or camp-like settings where physical distancing is difficult to practice and access to basic services, including water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities, is limited.
Thanks to your kindness and the commitment of our staff and partners in the field, UNHCR Philippines pushed to find new ways to carry out our work amid the challenges of 2020, reaching more than 100,000 forcibly displaced individuals in the most remote and vulnerable areas with 41 quick impact projects, and more than 63,000 individuals affected by emergencies with life-saving assistance.
Among the 274,000 forcibly displaced individuals in Mindanao are those in protracted displacement since 2013 in Zamboanga and 2017 in Marawi. The Marawi conflict displaced about 98% of the city’s population, with about 25,000 families still living in transitory sites or are hosted by families and friends. Among these are Najerah Abdulhamid and her family, who currently live in Rorogagus Transitory Site.
When UNHCR, through the kindness of donors and partners installed handwashing facilities and public communal toilets in their community, it gave Najerah one less thing to worry about. The threat of conflict and COVID is still there, but now, her family has access to handwashing and hygiene facilities that could help reduce the risk of contamination. The facilities are now benefiting 1,629 individuals in Rorogagus Transitory Site.
“Nagpapasalamat po kami sa nagbigay dito sa mga facilities na ito. Malaking tulong ito para saming mga IDPs,” she says.
The rehabilitation and construction of WASH facilities became increasingly important as the coronavirus continued to threaten the safety of communities. For the internally displaced, especially those who are expected to remain in temporary shelters due to severe damage to their original homes, limited access to food, health, water, sanitation and hygiene heightened the risk of virus transmission.
In Pangi Bakwit Village in Lanao del Norte, another transitory site for those displaced from Marawi, the rehabilitation of their water facilities really made a big difference to 1,247 individuals. Alyasser Lico, Assistant Coordinator for IDPs in Pangi Bakwit Village, says, “Kami ay nagpapasalamat sa pag rehab po sa aming patubig dito. Salamat sa walang sawang ginagawa ninyong tulong para po sa mga IDPs.”
UNHCR Philippines with the help of donors and partners is building communal toilets, handwashing facilities, and rehabilitating water systems in communities across Mindanao where forcibly displaced families are located, like Rorogagus Transitory Site in Marawi, Lanao del Sur.
Thanks to your kindness, the water system in Pangi Bakwit Village, Matungao, Lanao del Norte, has been rehabilitated and forcibly displaced families from Marawi now have ease of access to safe and clean water. This Quick Impact Project was done in collaboration with ACTED Philippines and LGU Matungao.
Thanks to your kindness, UNHCR Philippines and partners are installing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities to ease access to vital services for forcibly displaced communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
With your help and in partnership with ACTED Philippines and the local government, UNHCR Philippines was able to distribute hygiene kits to the community, conduct health awareness sessions, and build communal toilets and handwashing facilities in Sagonsongan Area 6 Transitory Site, Marawi City.
Forcibly displaced families are extra vulnerable to calamity, conflict, and #COVID19. With your help, UNHCR is installing handwashing stations, electric water pumps and latrines to ease access to vital services in affected areas like Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
UNHCR with the support of the Australian Government and in partnership with CFSI constructed a water system in Brgy. Ampuan in Buldon, Maguindanao, which will provide 140 households with clean and accessible water.
Your kindness is helping to ensure that forcibly displaced families have access to vital services amid #COVID19. Quick Impact Projects like the construction of handwashing stations, electric water pumps, latrines, and shallow wells in Guindulungan, Maguindanao promote confidence and self-reliance, and improve the overall protection condition of the most vulnerable families.
Thanks to your kindness, families living in the most remote areas of Mindanao now have access to handwashing facilities and clean water supply. This Quick Impact Project in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao was implemented in partnership with CFSI and the local government unit.
469 families in Pikit now have a WASH facility that gives them access to clean and safe water amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This project is made possible by UNHCR with the support of the Australian Government @ausembph, donors, and in partnership with @cfsi_rebuilds and the Local Government Unit of Pikit 1 SGDA BARMM.
Thanks to your kindness, some of the most vulnerable forcibly displaced communities in Mindanao now have access to clean and safe water. Quick Impact Projects like the construction of this handwashing facility in Talayan, Maguindanao promote confidence and self-reliance and improve the overall protection condition of the most vulnerable families.
The community quarantine and restrictions on movement and gathering have added another layer of burden for the internally displaced, as they are left facing the cessation of livelihood activities, market shortages, and reduced humanitarian support.
In Brgy. Adaon, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Maguindanao, 163 families (815 individuals) were given a livelihood support project to help promote self-reliance, confidence, and community empowerment as they continue rebuilding their lives.
“Sa lahat po ng tumulong para mabuo po itong aming building — nagpapasalamat kami,” says Engr. Faradz B. Umal, Municipal Engineer of Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Maguindanao.
UNHCR, with the support of the Australian Government and in partnership with CFSI and Datu Anggal Midtimbang LGU, constructed a display center and handed over sewing machines, benefitting 163 households in Barangay Adaon, Datu Anggal Municipality in Maguindanao.
With your kindness, the support of the Australian Govt and in partnership with CFSI and the BARMM Govt, UNHCR Philippines implemented a livelihood support project for a women-led group in a forcibly displaced community in Brgy. Sambulawan, Midsayap.
A livelihood project was recently turned over to families in the hinterland barangays of Tacub and Bulul-Salo, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, thanks to UNHCR Philippines with the support of the Australian Government and in partnership with ACCORD and the Local Government Unit of Kiblawan.
UNHCR Philippines with the support of the Australian Government @ausembph and in partnership with @cfsi_rebuilds and the BARMM Government, reached out to the fisherfolk of Barangay Butiren, Kabuntalan, Maguindanao, giving manual fish boats and bamboo fish traps.
UNHCR, with the support of the Australian Government and in partnership with CFSI and Cotabato LGU, recently handed over an income-generating project that also supports social cohesion in the community. This project seeks to enable IDPs and those at risk of Displacement in South Central Mindanao to achieve greater protection and take concrete steps towards durable solutions.
A new multi-purpose community center can now be used for livelihood and social cohesion activities by the women of Brgy. Marang, Barira, Maguindanao, thanks to UNHCR with the support of the Australian Government and in partnership with CFSI and the Local Government Unit of Maguindanao.
UNHCR with the support of the Australian Government and in partnership with CFSI and the Local Government Unit of Basilan, handed over a Multi-purpose Community Center to the community in Brgy. Upper Bato-Bato in the Municipality of Akbar, Province of Basilan. The community center is envisioned to support social cohesion and livelihood activities and contribute to the peace-building efforts by the local government.
Since 2012, UNHCR, with members of the Protection Cluster, has been monitoring and responding to incidents of displacement. As of December 2020, an estimated 274,000 persons remain displaced in various parts of Mindanao. A persistent displacement cycle, linked to the root causes of conflict, exacerbates socioeconomic gaps, which, in turn, feed conflict and displacement.
Displacement incidents in 2020 alone affected thousands of families, and UNHCR with your help responded with life-saving emergency assistance to reach more than 63,000 individuals with core relief items like sleeping mats, solar lamps, hygiene kits, and personal protective equipment like masks and face shields. This was done in line with helping build community level health awareness on how to prevent COVID-19.
Today, we are working harder than ever to save lives, protect rights and help build better futures for those uprooted by conflict and persecution. With your support, UNHCR Philippines will continue to stay and deliver, working with government and humanitarian partners to reach the most vulnerable.
As new emergencies arise and older ones persist, supporters like you make it possible for us to continue this work. Worldwide, we are facing record levels of forced displacement and increasingly complex emergencies. Your support is now more important than ever before.
Thank you for choosing to help.