The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Philippines have welcomed the Philippine Government’s statement of 18 and 19 May 2015 that the Philippines is open to support migrants and refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar currently stranded in the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca.
During the months of March and April, IOM with funding support from European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), commenced a project to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of people who have been displaced due to the recent conflicts in Maguindanao, Central Mindanao. Both organizations are committed to provide safer and better living conditions to IDPs, most of who are staying in displacement sites.
During the month of April, IOM in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) distributed solar lamps targeting population living in remote, hard-to-reach and/or high-risk areas across typhoon affected areas. In total, 3,980 solar lamps have been delivered to vulnerable families in Tacloban, 1,000 in Ormoc, 2,520 in Guiuan, 600 in Cebu and 750 in Bohol. Some of the distributions are still ongoing.
Last Friday, 24th April, IOM together with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) held a Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) handover activity and turned over 400 transitional shelters to the local government and to the IDPs in Zamboanga City. Currently 212 families or 1,171 individuals are living in these shelters, and the rest of the shelters are expected to be occupied soon.
Last week, IOM Cotabato together with the telecommunications company Globe Telecom distributed non-food items (NFIs) such as blankets to displaced families that are temporarily taking shelter in three evacuation centres in the town of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. This distribution benefited 236 families, including 39 families in Kabinge, 89 families in the Moadz compound and 108 families in the Kitango Madrasah evacuation centre. The activity was supported by the Datu Saudi Ampatuan Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.
On 8th April, IOM together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) facilitated an event called "An Evening on the Progress and Challenges of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Philippines" in Makati City. The event was attended by more than 60 participants from government partners, embassies, donors, UN partners and non-profit organizations.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Roxas City Sub-Office has been operating in Region VI, Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) tore through the neighbouring provinces last November 8, 2013. Over the course of the past sixteen months, IOM Roxas has never faltered in supporting the affected members of the population.
By John Vergel D. Briones
On March 20, 2015, IOM Roxas’ Health Unit conducted the Final Meeting for the Implementation of Psychological First Aid (PFA) and Psychosocial Support Training for Midwives, Community Leaders and IOM Staff. This activity aimed to consolidate all of the lessons learned and strategize steps forward regarding PFA in the humanitarian context.