Almost four months after Typhoon Odette, the central and southern parts of the Philippines are faced with another mishap when Tropical Storm Agaton (internationally named Megi) had left almost 307,500 people displaced.
Heavy rainfall had left Maguindanao flooded for two weeks since April 7, 2022. This has caused a tremendous impact on the health and livelihood of families living in all 14 barangays in Mamasapano—especially in accessing and maintaining hygiene and health protection.
In photo: Barangay Lusay, Mamasapano (Photo courtesy of Mamasapano Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Office)
With funding support from the European Union Humanitarian Aid, the REACH project launched an emergency kit distribution last April 21 to support almost 1,250 flood-affected families in Maguindanao. The distribution was facilitated by Action Against Hunger and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).
Many of the participating families rely on agriculture as their main source of income. Now that crops have been damaged by the flooding, they worry that the lack of sustainable income will deprive them of access to their health and hygiene needs.
Working closely with the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Office (MDRRMO) and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of Mamasapano, we identified persons with disabilities to be prioritized in the said distribution. A total of 250 families were able to receive hygiene kits.
The selection of PWDs was advised by the MDRRMO and MSWDO due to the group’s increased vulnerability to health risks brought about by the flooding. In Mamasapano alone, more than 4,000 families are reportedly affected by the storm.
One of the goals of REACH is to establish a safe and inclusive environment for conflict and disaster-affected communities while focusing on those who are most vulnerable to these threats.
To make this a reality, a series of Protection Trainings were conducted last July 2021 where 60 participants from the municipalities of Masiu, Bayang, Butig, and Lumba Bayabao in Lanao del Sur attended.
Identified Protection Monitors will be mainstreaming protection in the implementation of programs in the communities. They will also help in the identification and monitoring of protection issues, as well as advocating referral pathways on gender-based violence and child protection.
Each municipality developed its Protection Activity Plan. The plans included activities such as mobile legal missions, psychosocial support (PSS) sessions, identification, and monitoring of protection cases & referrals.
https://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/1629209468052.jpeg540720Adminhttps://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/logo_text_orig_white-1.pngAdmin2021-10-11 04:37:432021-10-11 04:53:32REACH 2 conducts Protection Training and Monitors to support Lanao del Sur LGUs in establish inclusive and accessible services
DATU PIANG, MAGUINDANAO — Action Against Hunger Philippines, through the REACH 2 project, provided 410 shelter kits to conflict and flooding-affected families in Barangay Montay, Datu Piang on the 23rd of September 2021.
Our team worked closely with the local government of Datu Piang together with the barangay council in managing the distribution. The kits were composed of mosquito nets, mats, and blankets. A hygiene promotion session was also conducted to refresh the participating families’ knowledge on proper hygiene and sanitation practices.
During the first quarter of 2021, heavy rainfall had left several Maguindanao towns flooded, affecting areas such as Sultan sa Barongis, Datu Salibo, Datu Piang, Mamasapano, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, and Rajah Buayan. This, unfortunately, was not a new occurrence for them since several areas of the province were already prone to flooding. Maguindanao yet again experienced massive flooding which started last September 8, 2021. This caused tremendous impacts on the lives of people repeatedly displaced due to this hazard, making access to adequate protection and dignified living more difficult for those in already vulnerable circumstances. For example, women and girls who are displaced are faced with compromised access to personal security and dignity, making them extremely at-risk.
In photo: Heavy rains in Maguindanao had caused streets to be submerged in several inches of rainwater last September 8, 2021.
In some cases, opportunities to build back their lives and move forward are impeded because of recurring conflicts in the area. This situation causes internally displaced individuals (IDPs) to have limited access to quality water, sanitation & hygiene facilities (WASH) as well poses potential health risks.
In photo: Residents are faced with recurring flooding in Barangays Dalug Balt, Lumigues Sogud, and Cormatan from Masiu.
With funding from the European Union, REACH 2 aims to establish a protected environment for conflict and disaster-affected communities in Mindanao as one of the project’s key humanitarian objectives.
https://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/PH_A1BP_2021Sep23_Al-King-Dilangalen_Shelter-Kit-Distribution-in-Datu-Piang-Maguindanao-1.jpg720960Adminhttps://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/logo_text_orig_white-1.pngAdmin2021-10-02 08:16:092021-11-02 13:59:34Over 400 households in Datu Piang affected by the recurring Maguindanao displacement receive shelter kits from REACH 2
Limited access to quality health care has been one of the identified humanitarian gaps within remote areas even before the pandemic. This immediately took a turn for the worse when COVID-19 negatively impacted these health systems. Many primary healthcare services have become inaccessible due to the lockdown restrictions or overcapacity of patients. Conflict-affected communities─especially the poor, displaced, and those in other vulnerable conditions─are at greater risk more than ever.
This is why our Program-Based Approach (PBA) in Mindanao has been coordinating with rural health units to ensure that primary health services are available, sustainable, and easily accessed by vulnerable communities.
Dental Services during the Health Mission at Lumbatan last August 23, 2021 (Photo by PBA Mindanao 2021 for Action Against Hunger)
A total of 1,202 people—collectively from Binidayan and Lumbatan of Lanao del Sur—participated in a series of activities from July 26 to September 2. Our nutrition screening activities were also integrated with the health mission to converge our health initiatives on the ground.
MUAC Screening during the Health Mission at Lumbatan on September 2, 2021 (Photo by PBA Mindanao 2021 for Action Against Hunger)
Following the nutrition screening, all individuals identified to have severe or moderate acute malnutrition were then referred to the RHUs to receive appropriate care and treatment. To supplement their nutritional needs, they will also receive financial assistance from our multi-purpose cash program.
Nutrition Awareness Session during the Health Mission in Binidayan on July 26, 2021(Photo by PBA Mindanao 2021 for Action Against Hunger)
Aside from these interventions, nutrition-awareness sessions were also held to refresh or heighten the participants’ knowledge of good health practices. In Binidayan, pregnant and lactating women (PLW) who are at nutritional risk also received hygiene kits and hygiene promotion sessions.
Hygiene Kit Distribution for PLWs at Binidayan during the Health Mission on July 26, 2021 (Photo by PBA Mindanao 2021 for Action Against Hunger)
Our efforts to stop and prevent hunger continues. We aim to fully protect, assist, and advocate for disadvantaged communities that are at greater risk to societal, environmental, and health crises.
https://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/PH_F7AM_2021Jul26-27_PBA-Mindanao_Health-Mission-in-Binidayan-LDS-1-scaled.jpg11532560Adminhttps://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/logo_text_orig_white-1.pngAdmin2021-09-24 14:25:212021-11-03 07:37:08PBA 2021: Converging efforts with local government and RHUs to strengthen health and nutrition initiatives in Mindanao
MINDANAO — A total of 605 displaced families in Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao received cash assistance amounting to 5,000 and 3,400 last August 18 to 20, 2021 during our Cash-for-Food payout, an activity under REACH Mindanao’s food security and livelihood (FSL) program.
The cash assistance is intended to support families who are at risk of facing food insecurity due to experienced protracted displacement. Local government units and agencies are already responding to these vulnerable communities, but because there are certain areas that would be deemed more susceptible to conflicts, calamities, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, these additional threats exacerbate the living conditions of internally displaced people. The situation they face can also further limit their financial resources, therefore making it more difficult to provide enough healthy and nutritious food for the entire family.
This household head successfully claims the Php5,000 during the cash payout for Datu Piang participating families. (Photo by Juhaina Ebus for Action Against Hunger)
Aside from the mentioned amount, each participating family also received a small allowance to cover the household representative’s travel expenses going to the payout center. Among the initial recipients of the cash support, 375 families were home-based internally displaced persons residing in Masiu, Lanao del Sur while the remaining 230 families resided in flood-affected areas of Datu Piang, Maguindanao. The goal of the cash assistance is to help affected families to meet the minimum food consumption necessary for each member.
IDPs in Masiu are no longer strangers to ongoing conflict and disasters. The Municipality of Datu Piang on the other hand is reportedly considered as a “catch basin” of several rivers coming from neighboring provinces. This makes the area more prone to flooding which can be easily triggered by heavy rainfall.
Eight years after the Zamboanga Siege, more than 700 families are still living in transitory sites of Masepla, Rio Hondo, Asinan, and Buggoc and they face further setbacks when COVID-19 started. Many have been struggling with food insecurity after losing their livelihoods as a result of the pandemic.
Under our project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), we hope to support the remaining displaced residents through a Multi-purpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) program.
During the first round of the payout last July 28, an initial 167 families had received 5,100 pesos which can be used for livelihood, hygiene, health, or shelter purposes among many others. Some of the participants who had already received the cash assistance have reportedly spent it on either capital for their small business, medicine and health services, or shelter purposes such as rental payment and purchasing of kitchenwares and solar lamps.
This marks the first MPCA activity of the project as the team will be conducting scheduled payouts in the coming weeks.
https://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/1.png600879Adminhttps://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/logo_text_orig_white-1.pngAdmin2021-08-16 04:40:142021-09-17 03:29:03Hundreds of displaced families in Zamboanga City receive multi-sectoral cash assistance
Representatives for Barangay Anitapan on stand-by at evacuation camp stations while waiting for ‘evacuees’ of the landslide simulation last July 28, 2021 | Barangay Anitapan, Mabini, Davao de Oro (Photo by Vina Menez for Action Against Hunger)
MABINI, DAVAO DE ORO — In order to increase community awareness on disaster risks, our ProAct Project team initiated an activity entitled, “Community Drill Towards a Resilient Disaster Governance in the New Normal” last July 28 and 30, 2021. This was conducted in partnership with the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) and Municipal Social Welfare Department (MSWD) of the Municipality of Mabini, Davao de Oro.
Community members of Barangay Anitapan participate in the landslide simulation during the community drill last July 28, 2021 | Anitapan, Mabini, Davao De Oro (Photo by Mark Dalin-as for Action Against Hunger)
Community residents of Barangays Anitapan, and San Antonio actively participated in the simulation exercises focusing on landslides and flooding.
MDRRMO representatives demonstrate emergency response through a simulation during the community drill at San Antonio, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 30, 2021 (Photo by Nino Diez for Action Against Hunger)
COVID-related scenarios and standard health protocols were also included in the drill to test BDRRMC’s capacity in handling multiple hazards. The early warning actions, evacuation camp and management protocols, and community responses had been assessed and evaluated using pre-designed criteria identified in the contingency plans.
Health volunteer in full PPE during the ProACT community drill at Anitapan, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 28, 2021 (Photo by Vina Menez for Action Against Hunger)
The activities were also held in observance of National Disaster Resilience Month 2021, putting more emphasis on strengthening the capacities of local communities for effective response, and adhering to in-depth rehabilitation and recovery efforts in the midst of a pandemic.
Simulation of emergency rescue operations during the community drill at Anitapan, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 28, 2021 (Photo by Vina Menez for Action Against Hunger)
MDRRMO representatives talks with participants during the community drill at San Antonio, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 30, 2021 (Photo by Vina Menez for Action Against Hunger)
MDRRMO representatives demonstrate a rescue attempt during a landslide simulation at the community drill at San Antonio, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 30, 2021 (Photo by Jin Serrano for Action Against Hunger)
MSWDO representatives conduct a relief operations simulation during the community drill at San Antonio, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 30, 2021 (Photo by Nino for Action Against Hunger)
Participants of the community drill at San Antonio, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 30, 2021 (Photo by Nino Diez for Action Against Hunger)
Demonstration of first aid for injured victims during the community drill at San Antonio, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 30, 2021 (Photo by Mark Dalin-as for Action Against Hunger)
Emergency first aid demonstration during the community drill at Anitapan, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 28, 2021 (Photo by Vina Menez for Action Against Hunger)
Health protocols were included in the community drill at San Antonio, Mabini, Davao De Oro | July 30, 2021 (Photo by Vina Menez for Action Against Hunger)
https://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/1.jpg7501000Adminhttps://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/logo_text_orig_white-1.pngAdmin2021-08-11 16:11:482021-08-11 17:28:42ProAct spearheads ‘New Normal’ Disaster Community Drill in Davao de Oro
From left to right: Local Government Academy (LGA) Executive Director Thelma Vecina, CARE Philippines Country Director David Gazashvili, ACCORD Inc. Executive Director Sindhy Obias, Action Against Hunger Philippines Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinator Juan Blenn Huelgas (representing Country Director Suresh Murugesu), Plan International Philippines Country Program Manager for Disaster Resilience Chrisnobel Cruz (representing Country Director Annie Locsin), LGA Assistant Director Esmeralda Daphne Purnell, and MOVE UP Project Consortium Manager Roger Cabiles sign the Partnership Agreement today during the virtual ceremonial signing program. (Courtesy of MOVE UP 4 Consortium)
Cooperation between the capacity and development arm of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and MOVE UP includes the review of various L!STO Operations Manual and conduct of capacity development interventions to local chief executives and other relevant stakeholders involved in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) activities.
During the event, LGA Executive Director Thelma Vecina said the ceremonial signing is highly symbolic as it coincides with the celebration of the National Disaster Resilience Month and is aligned with the LGA’s vision to build resilience through local government capacity-building activities.
“Today’s partnership is really significant and symbolic as we celebrate the National Disaster Resilience Month this July. For us in the LGA, this is really a great contribution to our efforts to build resilience of the local governments,” she said.
Furthermore, LGA Executive Director Vecina expressed that the LGA believes that increasing disaster resilience requires collective will and action from and among the communities, the local leaders, and stakeholders. “This is one among our many efforts to translate these commitments into actions. Hopefully, this initiates more cooperation in the future that will strengthen our nation’s resilience towards disaster,” she added.
Meanwhile, Juan Blenn Huelgas, Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinator of Action Against Hunger Philippines underscored the important role played by local government units in our collective effort to reduce the impact of disasters.
“Our local government units are at the forefront of mitigation, prevention, response, and management of these risks and vulnerabilities. It is right that we strengthen their capacities on resilience so that our urban poor population can withstand and manage the impact of natural and human-induced disasters, the very objective of the MOVE UP Consortium,” Huelgas said.
Child-centered organization Plan International Philippines’ Country Program Manager for Disaster Resilience Chrisnobel Cruz, meanwhile, emphasized the effects of disasters on the most vulnerable population, particularly girls and young women.
“Disasters could be detrimental to our effort to protect the rights and welfare of girls and young women. Disasters, and the crisis that comes with it, subject young women to the continual risk of violence, child marriage, and early and unplanned pregnancy, and threaten to roll back gains made in girls’ access to education,” Cruz said.
A strong partnership between the government and the civil society is needed to continuously increase the capacity of LGUs to prepare for and respond to disasters amid the mobility restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, CARE Philippines Country Director David Gazashvili said.
“As of last year, our webinar series entitled the Resilience Knowledge Exchange Series (RKES) reached 95 academic institutions, 80 CSOs, 83 national or regional government agencies, and 27 private-sector organizations. All of this of course would not be possible without the dedicated and passionate work of our partners and funders in the implementation of various development programs across the country. Therefore, we greatly cherish and foster the partnerships and collaborations with the likes of our consortium members and the DILG-LGA,” he said.
The Partnership Agreement, ACCORD Executive Director Sindhy Obias said, is a collective promise to share expertise to support local government units who are on the frontline in DRRM activities.
“As we sign this partnership agreement today, we view it not just a piece of paper but an expression of our collective commitment to work together towards the common goal of supporting our partners, particularly the local governments who are on the frontline when it comes to dealing with disasters, among many other related concerns on the ground. Being part of the MOVE UP consortium, ACCORD is very excited to work with DILG-LGA and share our experiences in resilience building,” Obias said.
Communications and Advocacy Specialist (MOVE UP Project) | 0906-589-8180
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, or the consortium members.
Neither the European Union nor any of the consortium members can be held responsible for them. Read more
https://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/224309086_2906248332929346_4493151947399782126_n.jpg9421920Adminhttps://actionagainsthunger.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/logo_text_orig_white-1.pngAdmin2021-08-03 08:27:002021-09-20 07:16:29Local Government Academy, MOVE UP Consortium ink partnership agreement to promote disaster resilience
As humanitarian workers, our field teams have time and time again shown great dedication at ground level in reaching even the most isolated communities. One great example would be Abubakar “Bhaks” Balabagan who has always given his best efforts despite the risks and challenges.
What motivates you to become a humanitarian worker? My purpose, which is to help people in the community who are suffering during disasters, and saving lives as well.
Why are you making this sacrifice? It makes me fulfilled. I am happy to help vulnerable people in the community through Action Against Hunger and be able to have a role in providing free and direct access to beneficiaries – because it is one of the organization’s principles.
Bhaks teaches participants how to use the hyposol solution during the hygiene promotion session in Baras, Catanduanes. (Photo by Joyce Anne Sandajan for Action Against Hunger)
What have been the challenges to your work because of the COVID-19 pandemic? The pandemic is very challenging because the risk of contracting and/or transmitting the virus can happen anytime and anywhere if not careful. Because of this, we have to limit gathering beneficiaries in small areas for activities like hygiene promotion sessions.
What motivates you to keep doing your work even with these challenges? My motivation comes from the people I serve. When I became a humanitarian worker, I became more conscious of the people’s daily struggles and have a deeper understanding on how different their situations are. For instance, many of them are striving to survive the economic downturn during this pandemic.
What are you most proud of? The thought that the work that I do, in some way or another, will have a ripple effect that will impact the lives of the people I serve.
Bhaks has been working with Action Against Hunger for more than 4 years. Now, he is currently part of our Typhoon Rolly (Goni) Emergency Response Team as one of the Project Assistants.
Sixty-seven-year-old Carlos Tesorero had one word in mind when asked how he felt when he saw what was left of his home – painful. Carlos, or “Tatay Carlos” as they called him, had a house along the shore of Barangay Guinsaanan in the Municipality of Baras, Catanduanes.
On the morning of November 2, 2020, a day after Typhoon Rolly made landfall, he, along with the other families living near the sea, returned and saw that the typhoon’s strong winds and heavy rains had completely destroyed their houses. “After the storm had passed, at around eight in the morning we went back to check our houses, and everything was gone… It was painful,” said Tatay Carlos. Hollow blocks, scraps of wood, metal, and scattered belongings were all that was left of their homes.
“After the storm had passed, at around eight in the morning we went back to check our houses and everything was gone… It was painful.”
In photo: Action Against Hunger staff visit the wreckage of houses in Barangay Guinsaanan where the houses of Carlos Tesorero and his neighbors once stood. It is now categorized as a ‘no-build zone’.
The residents of Barangay Guinsaanan were no strangers to such weather conditions, especially for those residing along the shore. In fact, in less than two weeks, the province had experienced the impacts of three typhoons – from Quinta to Rolly to Ulysses. Amongst the three, it was Super Typhoon Rolly that greatly affected their homes and livelihoods.
Tatay Carlos worked as a tour guide since 2015. He would accompany tourists to Binurong Point, one of the top tourist destinations in the province and about an hour’s hike from his barangay. Back then, he would get two visitors in a normal week, earning him 200 to 300 pesos. During summers, there would be more tourists and he would get twice the amount of visitors. This all changed when the lockdown was implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were okay before. But when the pandemic happened, it was hard because I had absolutely no income,” Tatay Carlos shares.
Tatay Carlos and his fellow tour guides looked for alternative sources of income. He went on to extract and sell dried coconut meat taro leaves, papayas, or other crops, earning just enough to get by. Unfortunately, most of the crops and coconut trees were damaged after the consecutive typhoons. He then started to collect dried wood and would sell them for firewood. He would earn enough to buy his food for the day. Tatay Carlos said he tried to apply for manual labor jobs like construction but was unsuccessful. “No one was accepting me because I was old, unlike the others,” he lamented. “I guess this is how it is when you get older, it’s more difficult to get a job.”
In photo: Tatay Carlos happily smiles with his cat named ‘Jasper’ who is his current companion inside his temporary home.
In photo: Tatay Carlos happily smiles with his pet inside his temporary home.
After the typhoons, the sea level had risen significantly, making the land where his home once stood into a no-build zone. Like the other families who lived there, Tatay Carlos now has to start from scratch. Fortunately, he was allowed to reside in a small building that was previously used as a barangay hall for the meantime.
With all that he has been through, what saddens Tatay Carlos is going through these ordeals alone. His wife, daughter, and grandchild visited a relative in Bulacan last year, but because of travel restrictions and financial constraints, they have not been able to return to Catanduanes since then. “If there was no pandemic, they would want to go back here,” he said. He tries to keep in contact with them regularly, but their conversations are often limited due to weak cellular phone reception.
Despite living alone, he continues to be in good spirits by regularly talking to his neighbors. Tatay Carlos also enjoys the company of a white kitten which he keeps as a pet. He spends his day going to the sea to catch fish for his own consumption since these are usually too small to sell. Some days, he checks if there are any crops to be harvested and sold. Tatay Carlos’ daily food is augmented by relief packs from various organizations. Mineral water is sold in the barangay, but since he has no income, he would get drinking water from the deep well.
In photo: Inside Tatay Carlos’ temporary home, his beddings on one side and the relief goods he received on the other.
Tatay Carlos works hard each day in order to provide for himself and perhaps earn extra income to save. “What we really need is money,” he says with a weak laugh. “We received noodles and canned goods as relief, so food is all set. We got some soap too, but those ran out quickly. I have to admit, sometimes I loan items from the sari-sari store items like cooking oil or laundry soap, and I pay them back once I manage to sell some of the firewood I collect,” he adds further.
He was excited when he found out that he was selected to be a beneficiary for Action Against Hunger’s multipurpose cash assistance (MPCA). On January 27, Tatay Carlos was one of the 60 beneficiaries from Barangay Guinsaanan who received cash assistance amounting to 5,200 pesos. The MPCA was conducted as part of Action Against Hunger’s Emergency Assistance to Typhoon Affected Communities in Catanduanes and Albay, which is co-implemented by CARE Philippines. The project is made possible through the funding of the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA). The project is expected to reach a total of 14,500 people through MPCA alone. The goal of the program is to enable the most vulnerable households affected by Typhoon Rolly to meet immediate food and basic humanitarian needs.
“My number one dream is to have a house of our own again,”
With the assistance he received, Tatay Carlos remains hopeful and positive. “My number one dream is to have a house of my own again,” he shares. The makeshift house he is currently residing in is being sold at 30,000 pesos and he hopes to earn and save enough money so he can buy the lot someday. He also adds that one of his priorities as well as to have his daughter graduate as this was his dream for himself when he was younger. “Even though she now has a child of her own, I want my daughter to finish her studies,” he says.
In photo: Tatay Carlos at the Multipurpose Cash Assistance (MPCA) payout orientation at Barangay Guinsaanan, Baras. (Photo by Joyce Sandajan for Action Against Hunger)
Despite losing both his home and livelihood, Tatay Carlos smiles as he shares the many ways he tries to make ends meet on a daily basis. Knowing he has to start from nothing pains him but says he is thankful that there are people who are willing to extend kindness through various forms. He may have been through a lot the past year, but his family and the support from his community keep him going.
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ACTION AGAINST HUNGER
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