Displaced Families in Basilan Receive Aid from ICRC

GENERAL SANTOS CITY– To address the needs of the displaced families in Basilan brought about by armed conflict between state security forces and lawless elements in Basilan, the ICRC provided them assistance through the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on May 25. 

Each family received 25 kilograms of rice, 1 litre of oil, 1 litre of soy sauce, one kilogram of sugar, half kilogram of salt, 12 tins of sardine, and hygiene materials including shampoo, bath and laundry soap, sanitary pad, toothbrush and toothpaste.  

The supplies provided to the IDPs could last for at least 15 days for a family of five.

About 2,000 displaced individuals have been uprooted and coping with their displacement for over a month after armed clashes broke out in Sumisip municipality.

“We are deeply concerned about the effects of prolonged displacement of these families. Unable to take care of their farms, these families struggle to provide for their loved ones,” said Piotr Dregiel, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Zamboanga. 

The Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) in Sumisip said that around 200 families who fled their homes in April 2019 due to the fighting have been staying in Barangay Mangal. 

There are also 190 families from Barangay Tumahubong displaced as a result of intermittent clashes since June 2016 who have not yet returned home due to fear of being caught in   crossfire.

“Although they received initial assistance from the authorities, they still need further support due to their continued displacement,” Dregiel said.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. It has an international mandate to promote knowledge for and compliance with international humanitarian law.

“We remind all parties to the conflict about the need to protect civilians and those who are not or no longer participating in the hostilities. They must not be targeted, and their lives and dignity are to be protected at all times,” stressed Dregiel.