01 January 2012

UN: Protection Needed for 'Sendong' Victims

Sendong Victims
According to a UN Report, there is a lack of protection mechanisms for vulnerable sub-groups, such as pregnant and lactating women (PLW’s), female heads of households, single women, people with disabilities and the elderly in areas ravaged by Tropical Storm Sendong.

The report also added that there are no community-based child protection networks in the evacuation centers (ECs). Some children have been separated from their parents or are unaccompanied. There are currently no recreation activities available for children in the centres. However, the Iligan City DRRMCC has set up a counselling committee with faith-based groups and NGOs. There is a lack of clothing and footwear in children's sizes. Around 87,500 children require registration and camp coordination to protect them from abuse, exploitation and trafficking in evacuation centers. Aside from school buildings, some child development centers remain totally damaged or destroyed.

In response, UNICEF is mobilizing the Child Protection Working Group (CPWG) partners to conduct
assessment in ECs. UNICEF with Plan International are working with the government of Iligan on protection of children from any exploitation, abuse and trafficking. UNICEF will conduct. UNICEF also works with DSWD for the formation of community-based child protection networks in ECs.

Gender-based Violence (GBV) sub-cluster is set to be convened. A GBV Adviser will be deployed in the affected areas to coordinate prevention and mainstreaming in all humanitarian clusters. The GBV Safety Audit is being done in ECs to determine protection gaps. DOH is leading a group on psycho-social protection. Advocacy with DSWD on ensuring rights of women under the family access card was pushed and guaranteed.

However, there are still gaps and constraints. For instance, camp management committees are still being established and made functional. Number of evacuees in ECs has ballooned due to the inability of residents from identified hazard prone areas to return to their villages and the fact that smaller ECs were combined.