ARMM govt sends aid to thousands of flood victims in Maguindanao
31 July 2013
Cotabato City – The newly formed Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) kicks into action this week as days of torrential rains bring flood and displace thousands of residents in several communities in 20 of the 36 towns in Maguindanao province.
According to data released by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-ARMM flood-affected families number at around 48,870 in more than 158 communities in the province.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman and Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, vice-governor and concurrent DSWD-ARMM secretary, headed a team that set out Monday to bring aid to hundreds of families in the towns of Sultan Kudarat and Mother Kabuntalan.
Hataman said the relief is intended to help residents hurdle effect of the flood and prevent any casualty.
A second round of relief efforts pushed ahead Tuesday in Paglat and Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun despite the outbreak of a clash between government forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) along the main road leading to the two towns.
“We decided to take a different route and proceed with the relief in the two towns considering the conditions of affected residents,” the region’s executive secretary, Laisa Alamia said.
Relief packs included food items, mosquito nets, hygiene kits and drugs used to treat potable water.
Alamia said agencies that comprise the ARMM HEART are already accustomed to emergency response despite the early stage of its formation.
The ARMM government is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to capacitate the ARMM HEART.
An initial assessment of the ongoing relief was held today, Wednesday, to evaluate the extent of the flooding, the number of affected residents and assistance needed.
Rahima Datumanong Alba, DSWD-ARMM assistant secretary, said most of the affected families have sought shelter in the house of their kin and are considered house-based, while a few occupy classrooms or makeshift tents.
Department of Health (DOH)-ARMM will be watching out for diseases that can proliferate during floods, according to its assistant secretary, Dayang Carlsum Jumaide. (Bogs Sayson/BPI)