October 12, 2018

Philippines: Unless durable solutions are found, people will remain vulnerable and unable to rebuild their lives – ASG Mueller

Written by UN OCHA

This article originally appeared on UNOCHA’s website. Reposted with permission.

ASG Mueller visits a space for children displaced by the conflict.
ASG Mueller visits a child-friendly space for children displaced by the conflict. Credit OCHA/M. Bidder

ASG Mueller is visiting the Philippines to observe first-hand OCHA’s work, its strategic priorities and operational presence in a highly hazard prone but rising middle-income country. OCHA’s presence in the Philippines was upgraded to a country office in 2010, with a dual focus: emergency response preparedness and response to sudden onset emergencies and the protracted conflict situation in Mindanao.

While in Marawi City, ASG Mueller met with humanitarian and development partners to discuss how to join efforts to reduce need, risk and vulnerability. While stressing the centrality of protection in humanitarian action, she is also advocating for further resources to address the continuing humanitarian needs of people displaced by the conflict in Marawi, urging the international community’s support to the transition to longer-term and sustainable recovery.

ASG Mueller meets with IDPs from the Sarimanok camp. Credit OCHA/M. Bidder

At the Sarimanok temporary shelters, which were constructed by the Government as a temporary shelter before they are able to transfer to a site with better facilities in the village of Sagonsongan, Ms Mueller spoke to IDPs. Here, Ms. Mueller met with Aisah, who lives in the Sarimanok temporary shelter. Aisah started her own business selling slippers as part of a livelihood recovery programme run together with local authorities and humanitarian partners.

Ms. Mueller with Aisah, who is rebuilding her life selling slippers thanks to a recovery programme. Credit OCHA/M. Bidder

The Sarimanok camp is managed by the City Social Welfare Office which is working closely with agencies both from the Government and humanitarian community to ensure the delivery of clean water and sanitation. This is particularly critical in a country where eight per cent of the population relies on dug wells or natural sources for water and on pit latrines for sanitation.

Credit OCHA/M. Bidder

Ms. Mueller was also briefed by Dr. Ali Daligdig, Marawi City’s Health Officer at a mobile health clinic supported by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which provided nearly US$7.5 million for life-saving programmes in Marawi.

Mobile health clinic supported by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. Credit: OCHA/Vanessa May

Although thousands of people could benefit from these interventions, Ms. Mueller reiterated that unless humanitarian assistance is sustained and until durable solutions are found, many will remain highly vulnerable and unable to support themselves and their families. Returnees and displaced communities need continued support as they recover and strive to rebuild their lives.

The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in the Philippines, composed of in-country UN agencies, international and local NGOs, and the private sector reiterated its committed to assisting the people of Lanao del Sur who have been affected by the conflict, and continues to work with partners to facilitate the transition to recovery and rehabilitation.