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A Wheelchair Provision Under Our ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Conflict-Affected Populations in Mindanao’ (REACH)

“Thank you… I don’t have to borrow a wheelchair from the neighbors anymore whenever I have to do something important,” said 62-year old Norcaisa Macapasir.

For ten years, Norcaisa has become acustomed to using her hands as legs as she lives with paraplegia. After her husband passed away in 2010, Norcaisa started feeling numbness in her legs. Not long after, her lower body was paralized completely.

On February 23, 2021, Action Against Hunger Philippines in coordination with the municipal health officer (MHO) and the local government unit (LGU) focal for health provided her with a wheelchair to support her in her daily activities.

The logistic support received by Norcaisa was one of the health and protection interventions under our ‘Response to the Unmet Humanitarian Needs of the Most Vulnerable Conflict-Affected Populations in Mindanao’ (REACH). The REACH project was funded by the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid – ECHO and is implemented together with CARE PhilippinesOxfam Pilipinas, and their local partners.

Over 500 people are Able to Practice Proper Hygiene Habits Through New Hygiene Facility in Sitio Waterfalls

Jessa Ampoy used to walk 500 meters to be able to get to the nearest comfort room in the evacuation site where water wasn’t always available. She and the rest of the evacuees at Bongolanon, Magpet also prefer to take a bath in the nearby stream. They would walk a few meters to get there, but it sure is nearer than the bathing area assigned for the evacuees’ use.

Jessa is one of the 560 people who are now able to practice proper hygiene habits because of the newly constructed hygiene facility in Sitio Waterfalls as part of our #MindanaoEarthquake response last year, together with CARE Philippines and ACCORD Incorporated, and funding from EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid – ECHO.

It is very favorable for us. Where we get water is very far and steep that our backs hurt when we collect water…We are thankful for the new CR. It is very near. We no longer have to cram in the CR, because there are CRs installed per area. I will no longer be afraid to use the toilet at night,” said Jessa.

Life After The Mindanao Earthquake: Wheels of Hope

Written by Joayra Gem Balagtas for Action Against Hunger

“Mother, why are we different from other kids?” asks 6-year old John Rey to his mother, Janisa. John Rey and his two older brothers Christian and Gary Jr., have not been able to walk and run like other children because of a bone condition that started when each of them turned six years old.

Janisa looks at John Rey and finds it difficult to answer his question. Even the doctors that they consulted could not determine the reason why her sons’ bones in their lower bodies were shrinking.  All the doctors could recommend was to conduct more medical examinations to determine the cause of the boys’ conditions and how to treat it.

The eldest, Gary Jr. who is now 13 years old, has trouble sitting down and usually spends days lying on the sleeping mat. The father, Gary Sr., earns just enough to get by their daily needs as an on-call carpenter. Janisa stays at home and takes care of the children. As much as they want to have their sons treated, they have limited financial capabilities to do so.

To make matters worse, their community in Balabag, Kidapawan was affected by the series of earthquakes that struck Mindanao during the last quarter of 2019. The disaster affected more than 300,000 people, almost half of them displaced, including Gary Sr. and Janisa’s family.

Despite their struggles, the Lopez family continues to move forward especially after our Earthquake Response Protection Team, together with the Integrated Provincial Health Office – IPHO and the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), referred and assisted the Lopez brothers to Kidapawan City Public Hospital and other private hospitals in the area for more extensive check-ups and medical examinations. John Rey, Christian, and Gary Jr. each received wheelchairs courtesy of the IPHO, and the CSWD provided financial assistance for their family. Action Against Hunger continues to monitor the condition of the three children.

Prior to the referral, the Lopezes also received humanitarian support forms of multi-purpose cash transfer, hygiene and shelter kits. These, along with the protection assistance, is part of our Mindanao Earthquake Emergency Response which is funded by the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid – ECHO.

Inside their evacuation tent, Janisa watches her two youngest sons play, the eldest brother lies in his back beside them. The boys may not be able to use their legs like other children, but Janisa is hopeful that at least her sons will now be able to walk and run in their own special way with the help of their new wheelchairs.