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Philippines: Aid continues for displaced

25-01-2001 News Release 00/03

While attention was focused on the dramatic events in the capital Manila last week, Red Cross relief operations were continuing for the thousands of displaced persons in central Mindanao.

Between 15 and 22 January, relief consisting of rice, beans and oil as well as essential non-food items was delivered in a joint operation by staff from the Philippine National Red Cross and the ICRC to 14,000 persons living in 14 different camps.

The distributions were part of a general programme for some 70,000 persons who had fled their homes last summer as fighting raged between the armed forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. As part of the programme, water and sanitation work is being done to improve living conditions in the camps and prevent the spread of disease.

Describing the camps he visited recently as part of an initial survey of needs, relief delegate Scott Gardiner said that the material conditions were no worse than in other such camps he had visited. " But there is this sense of despondency and uncertainty among the people which is a striking feature of refugee and displaced camps the world over. "