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Philippines: ICRC helps improve hygiene and sanitation in flood-affected prisons

02-10-2009 News Release 09/200

Manila (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology are working to improve water supplies and sanitation in four prisons affected by the recent flooding in the Philippines.

" Almost 2,000 inmates lack access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, " says Marco Albertini, an ICRC water and habitat coordinator. " The situation in jails, which are already overcrowded, has become extremely serious. Several days after the tropical storm, some facilities remain flooded and isolated, and the delivery of relief is a major challenge. "

The ICRC is working to restore water supply and to disinfect the water. It is also distributing personal hygiene items, soap, disinfectants and water containers. It is currently assessing the situation in two other detention facilities.

The ICRC continues to support the Philippine National Red Cross in its efforts to ensure that people in evacuation centres have safe drinking water. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is also supporting the National Red Cross in its relief and recovery efforts after Tropical Storm Ketsana (locally known as Ondoy) and with preparedness measures being taken in advance of Typhoon Parma.

In the Philippines, the ICRC works with the authorities in charge of detention facilities to ensure that inmates enjoy adequate living conditions. Some 11,000 people in 20 jails have benefited from these improvements so far this year. In addition, 67 engineers from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology have received training.

For further information, please contact:
  Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 918 907 21 25
  Claire Kaplun, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2405 or +41 79 244 6426