ARMM to add more sanitation facilities in evacuation sites

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Health officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will add more sanitation facilities in temporary shelters to prevent sanitary related diseases.

Dr. Kadil Sinolinding, ARMM regional health secretary, in his report to ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, said to ensure the health of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs), there is a need to add more sanitation facilities like comfort rooms in evacuation sites to prevent the possible outbreak of preventable diseases.

“Some of the fatalities have died due to water borne diseases, clean and sanitary environment will save children who are highly vulnerable,” he said in a phone interview.

“Proper disposal of human wastes and availability of safe drinking water will spare children from diseases, that is why we are prioritizing sanitary facilities because we have no idea when this crisis will end,” he added.

More than 4,000 persons have been given medical aid by ARMM health providers in Iligan City and the towns outside the beleaguered city.

Since May 23, DOH-ARMM listed 39 deaths, 19 of which were validated while the rest were reported by relatives who immediately buried them in accordance with Islamic tradition, Sinolinding said.

Hataman said while majority of the almost 46,000 families displaced by the armed conflict in Marawi City have sought shelter in their relative’s houses, some families are forced to crowd into evacuation camps.

The unfavorable condition in evacuation camps expose IDPs to potential health risks.

ARMM officials headed by Hataman and ARMM Exec. Secretary Laisa Alamia, conducted an ocular inspection of evacuation sites in Saguiaran and Malabang, both in Lanao del Sur, not far from Marawi City.

Sinolinding said the establishment of sanitary facilities were among the priorities health workers did early on during mass evacuation of Marawi City residents after hostilities broke out on May 23.

Hataman said the ARMM’s Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will construct additional 20 toilets in two evacuation camps in the town of Saguiaran and 10 toilets in Malabang.

The agency will also put up washing and bathing facilities and provision of water tanks. The facilities, which will be separate for male and female, will cater to a total of at least 500 families.

Hataman said it will help improve conditions in evacuation camps and reduce the risk of health problems.

The ARMM, in coordination with other government agencies responding to the Marawi City crisis, is utilizing the Disaster Assistance and Family Access Card (DAFAC) system to ensure efficient relief distribution and evaluate the status and appropriate needs of affected families.

In addition to the region’s Crisis Management Committee in Cotabato City, the ARMM has established operation centers in Iligan City and the town of Malabang to facilitate the coordination of its humanitarian response, which include relief and medical aids and rescue and retrieval operations of trapped civilians.

When the conflict started to wind up, Hataman said the ARMM will transfer its operation center in Iligan City to Marawi City to improve relief efforts and other humanitarian interventions to families who have evacuated to different towns in Lanao del Sur. (EOF/PNA)