IDPs in Sumisip and Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan call help for their poor displacement situation

Calling for help are affected families in Sumisip and Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan where the alleged recent encounter between the Abu Sayyaf and Armed Forces of the Philippines, AFP took place on July 26, 2012.

There is no concrete evacuation center for the internally displaced persons (IDPs). Affected families are scattered upon fleeing to safer places in fear of their lives during the firefight. Some seek refuge with their relatives in nearby communities; some found temporary shelters in public market at Sumisip and in Ungkaya Pukan (municipality adjacent to Sumisip).

In their place of displacements, IDPs suffered very poor conditions. Availability of food is very limited since affected families do not have any income during displacement. Some children are believed to be suffering from extreme distress with the symptoms they are showing. There are children who are sick from cough, diarrhea and fever due to poor health and sanitation in their displacement. Women with their children as expected become the most vulnerable groups as they are the most afraid and feel insecurity due to on-going conflict in their community.

Education of the children is affected. Classes are suspended in the affected barangays.

According to the on-going monitoring and assessment conducted by UnYPhil-Women, exact numbers of IDPs are still to be determined since there is no concrete evacuation center for the displaced families.

Data available for now are based on the interview with local community leaders and some IDPs since the local government officials of the affected barangays are hard to reach for coordination.

Accounted number of displaced families were 1, 093 families or 5,465 persons due to this recent conflict. The Municipal Social Welfare Development Office (MSWDO) of Basilan has provided food assistance to the affected families.

There are five (5) barangays affected which are Sapah Bulak, Upper Cabengbeng, Ulitan, Sangiyan and Mebak in the municipality of Sumusip while one (1) barangay is affected in the municipality of Ungkaya Pukan.

The encounter of ASG and AFP at Sumisip Basilan which resulted to death of ten (10) persons while seventeen (17) got wounded during the encounter.

The recent encounter between these two groups is the first incident of armed-conflict this year between private armed-groups and the troops of the government.

The MILF through its Central Committee on Information appeals to the government to hold back their troops from the MILF known-territories especially now in the Holy month of Ramadhan to prevent escalation of conflict that affects many innocent civilians.

AFP troops have now installed check-points and have deployed troops in Barangays of Upper Cabengbeng, Sapahbulak and Tumahubong that causing more tension in the areas and fear to the civilians.

UnYPhil-Women is among the different organizations who continuously conducting monitoring and assessment to determine the situation and immediate needs of the IDPs. Coordination with other organizations shall also be conducted to see possible collaboration in providing services to the affected communities.

UnYPhil-Women is a member of the Protection Cluster Mindanao. The cluster is composed of different organizations in Mindanao chaired by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) under the joint response to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mindanao.

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