Cotabato City – While the number of evacuees continues to rise due to the on-going law enforcement operations in Marawi City, donations from various individuals and organizations are pouring in to help ease the plight of those displaced by the hostilities.
These relief efforts include young men and women in this city that hosts the regional offices of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Amino Sahabuddin, 20, has initiated a donation drive with his classmates and urged his professors to do the same. He added that people in Marawi and Lanao del Sur need humanitarian help noting even small donations will make a difference.
“We cannot help them all, but at least we could help some. Kahit ‘yung isang araw na maitawid mo ang gutom ng (isang evacuee) ay malaking bagay na,” Sahabuddin said. He collects small amounts of money and gathers food packs and used clothing. These donations are delivered to the operation center of the ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency and Action Response Team (ARMM-HEART) here.
Myrna Jo Henry, ARMM-HEART information officer, said most of the donations come from private individuals, small organizations and government offices from all over Mindanao and the rest of the country. These donations are distributed by the ARMM-HEART to internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are staying either in homes of relatives, or in designated evacuation centers.
The center generally receive food such as rice, canned goods, noodles, dried fish, coffee, sugar, milk powder, biscuits, juice powder, bottled water, eggs and fruits. Non-food items are also donated such as hygiene kits, used clothing, diapers, baby clothing, praying materials and mats, toys, and other items such as trapal, mats, malong, medicines, cadaver bags, and jerry cans.
ARMM’s employees have also been active in raising donations since the crisis started in the third week of March. Employees of the region’s Department of Natural Resources recently delivered various items including dried goods, used clothes as well as cash donations that could support at least 25 families.
“The ARMM departments are committed to giving aid to the families displaced by the Marawi crisis,” Albashir Saiden, DENR-ARMM executive assistant, said. Although many donations are pouring in, Henry underscored that the relief goods needed most by the IDPs are bottled water, halal food, hygiene kits, kumot (bedding), kulambo (mosquito net), banig (mat), and products babies need.
ARMM-HEART has distributed a total of 20,000 bottled water and almost 10,000 relief packs to evacuees in Iligan City during the early days of the crisis. So far, a total of 26,082 families, or 130,410 individuals, have been provided with food and non-food items. As of 5 p.m. Sunday, June 4, evacuees total 47,116 families comprising 235,580 individuals.
“Hanggat may IDPs, patuloy and pagbibigay natin ng relief goods,” ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said. While the regional government continues to call for donations, it has also earmarked P100 million in relief assistance to families adversely affected by the crisis. (Bureau of Public Information)