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Philippines: emergency action in Maguimdanao

27-03-1996 News Release 96/12

On 25 March two ICRC delegates went to Cotabato City, in the southern part of the Philippines, following the serious clashes that had recently taken place in the Muslim part of the Maguindanao area (Mindanao Province). Fighting broke out in mid-March between Philippine armed forces and rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), causing the displacement of thousands of civilians.

The delegates'task was to assess the needs, particularly in nutrition and hygiene, of displaced people who had been unable to obtain assistance either from the local administration or from the non-governmental organizations present in the area. According to an initial survey undertaken by the ICRC on 18 March at the request of the Philippine National Red Cross, some 4,000 families from the Sultan Kudarat and Laambayong areas have been housed in a dozen evacuation centres. ICRC delegates visited three of these, set up on the premises of primary schools in Laambayong, and noted that several non-governmental organizations were working there. The aim now is to draw up, in cooperation with the local authorities, a plan to cover the needs of the displaced people in all the other evacuation centres.