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Catholic Relief Services: Reaching out to displaced families from Marawi

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Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was awarded Start Funds to respond to the crisis in Marawi, Philippines, where fighting broke out in May. Here Aiko Jane Osa tells us about CRS's response.

On May 23, 2017, violent conflict erupted between government military troops and the Maute group, a militant faction sympathizing with ISIS, forcing over 70 thousand families to flee their homes and seek refuge in adjacent towns. Evacuation centers were opened in Iligan City and other towns in the provinces of Lanao Del Norte and Lanao Del Sur. Evacuees also sought refuge with relatives and friends further a field in Cagayan de Oro City and other towns of the province of Misamis Oriental.CRS, along with its partners, the Maranao People’s Development Center (MARADECA), Mindanao State University – Institute of Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM), Non-Violence Peace Force, and the Diocese of Iligan, responded to the needs of displaced families in Iligan City and the town of Balo-i by providing non-food items (NFIs) to selected displaced families staying in various barangays.

Two types of kits were distributed: one containing essential household items, and another containing items for personal hygiene.Madrasah Al-Khairiya is one of the evacuation centers (ECs) in the town of Balo-i in the province of Lanao del Norte. It currently provides shelter to 73 families, one of which was Rahima Makarumper’s.  Rahima is 31 years old and she, her husband, and three children were residents of Barangay Daguduban in Marawi City.  Like other families displaced by the conflict, they left home in a hurry, bringing nothing but the clothes on their backs.

During a post-distribution monitoring activity, Rahima expressed her gratitude for the emergency response conducted by CRS. “Tuwang-tuwa kami sa natanggap naming gamit. Malaking tulong talaga ‘yonsa pamilya namin. May kapatid akong kapapanganak lang, binigayko sa kanya yung ibang tuwalya. Na i-share ko yung gamit sa iba.[We are very happy about the items we received. It was truly a big help to our family. I have a sister who recently gave birth and I gave her the extra towels. I was able to share the items to others.]” she said.

Rahima’s family is just one of the 133 displaced families in the barangay of West Poblacion in the town of Balo-i that received hygiene and household kits from CRS. With the goal of meeting the immediate, life-saving needs of vulnerable families displaced by the Marawi armed conflict, CRS distributed a total of 2,376 hygiene and household kits to affected families.

Rahima was greatly appreciative of the items provided by CRS because they were not able to bring any of their belongings from their home with them when they fled.  She said that her family was able to save money because CRS’ household and hygiene kits contained items that they would have otherwise needed to buy. Each item in the kits was useful, Rahima said, including the bags that contained the items, which she used as storage bags for her children’s clothes.Although many of the response’s beneficiaries expressed that they had remaining unmet needs, such as money/livelihood, food, medicines, and school supplies, they expressed that they were satisfied with the kits from CRS, in terms of the quantity, quality, and usefulness of their contents. They were thankful to CRS for providing them with assistance.

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