Philippines – A detailed picture of the evolving needs and challenges faced by the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by Typhoon Haiyan which struck the central Philippines three weeks ago is emerging.
IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has been rolled out over 80 per cent of Samar and Leyte islands, and will shortly be completed, giving up-to-date information on sites for displaced people in 143 municipalities in Samar, Leyte, Bilaran, Cebu and Roxas.
Four main immediate challenges are evident, which IOM is attempting to solve alongside the government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other humanitarian partners, while longer-term solutions are planned.
The DTM shows that sites for displaced people are not generally overcrowded, although there is a need for attention, as in Roxas where 67 per cent of sites are over-full.
Food is getting through to all sites, although deliveries need to be regularized to ease anxiety among displaced people.
Toilet facilities need to be dramatically improved as the majority of sites have unisex toilets, which are unlit at night.
Only one in ten children has returned to school. The problems of schools doubling as evacuation centres is slowly being resolved with day shelters for families being introduced, so that displaced people have somewhere to stay during the day, and can sleep in school buildings at night.
There are minor health concerns, with coughs, asthma, colds, fever, skin disease, wound infections, diarrhea and other stomach problems in evidence.
As tents are the least-preferred option in displacement scenarios, the good news was that only one per cent of those screened by the DTM are living under canvas. The majority are either in classrooms or makeshift dwellings.
IOM’s DTM work is made possible by the DSWD and their municipal branches for camp coordination and camp management. Volunteer camp managers from the displaced populations are given on-the-spot training by experienced IOM staff, almost all of them Filipinos. The raw data that they collect is then analyzed by IOM.
“It may seem laborious, but this aspect of aid operations is crucial,” said Brian Kelly, IOM’s operations manager for the Haiyan response. “The information gathered at the grass roots allows us to make macro decisions which we know are correct and timely. And because the DTM is an ongoing process, we can adapt and fine-tune on a daily – even hourly – basis.”
A total of 3 million families (over 14 million people) were affected by Haiyan (called Yolanda in the Philippines). The affected population came from 11,980 barangays, 563 towns, 59 cities, 44 provinces in 9 regions.
Currently, there are 1,084 displacement sites still open and providing temporary shelter to 48,541 families or over 225,000 people. The other displaced 737,810 families or 3.39 million individuals are staying with friends and families.
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