The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 46,360 people have been displaced in Maguindanao since March 2019 because of the renewed armed conflict between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and a faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the interior areas of the SPMS box (Salibu, Pagatin, Mamasapano and Shariff Aguak).

The SPMS box and the surrounding municipalities have seen continuous hostilities between government forces and rebel groups in the past several years, causing repeated displacement of the same communities in the area.

(Photo by Mhods Suga for Action Against Hunger)

17% of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) live with relatives while 83% are staying in evacuation centers scattered across the area.

“Living conditions are difficult for those in evacuation centers due to inadequate sleeping quarters that offer limited protection from the elements, inefficient cooking areas, limited access to water and sanitary facilities,” said William Baang, former Head of Base for Action Against Hunger’s office in Cotabato. “These variables increase the likelihood of diseases spreading, so it is important that people are given the necessary tools and training to stay hygienic.”

Action Against Hunger conducted hygiene and sanitary promotion sessions along with providing emergency nonfood items and hygiene kits to 600 households in Datu Salibu and Shariff Saydona Mustapha. ●

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