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Saturday, 15 July 2017 09:38

Philippine Red Cross steps up humanitarian efforts for Sabah returnees

To continue delivering humanitarian services, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) with the support from the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (IFRC DREF), an emergency operation was conducted to provide immediate assistance to the Filipino returnees from the state of Sabah in Malaysia

As of July 14, 2017, more than 3,000 returnees have arrived in Zamboanga Citsince the crisis started on February 15. Most of the returnees are from the eastern part of Sabah such as SempornaTawauLahad DatuKunak, Sandakan-Romero and Sandakan-Kumunak

Together with the different local government units and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Red Cross immediately mobilized its staff and volunteers from PRC Chapters in Mindanao including Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga City.

"To augment the efforts of the government, the Red Cross has been providing health, safety and welfare services to the returnees. We conducted assessments with the returnees who have arrived and provided them with the immediate needs that include food, sleeping materials, hygiene items, medical support and psychosocial support,” said PRC Chairman and C.E.O Richard J. Gordon.

Under the PRC Welfare Services, more than 2,000 people were given psychosocial support (PSP). Hot meals were also given to more than 2,100 individuals.

Upon arrival of the returnees in Zamboanga City, I Am Alive Program was provided to more than 1,000 individuals who were able to make phone calls and send messages (both local and international calls). Individuals were also provided assistance called the Restoring Family Links Program to reconnect with their family members.

Non-food items (NFI) including hygiene kits, sleeping mats, blankets and mosquito nets were also distributed to more than 90 families, and also, used clothes were provided to 71 individuals. Hygiene promotion activities were also conducted to more than 350 individuals along with the distribution.

Aside from first aid assistance, medical technicians were on site to undertake triage and stand by ambulances were also deployed in the location during the arrivals of returnees.

With the rapid increase of the returnees is still being recorded until now, the PRC deployed its assessment teams to continuously monitor the situation.