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Marawi children still at risk 1 year on from conflict—UNICEF

UN children’s agency advocates for wider Lanao del Sur recovery strategy
to ensure children’s safety and well-being

MANILA, 23 May 2018 – One year after the Marawi conflict, over 100,000 children remain displaced. Risks for children affected by the conflict are increasing, especially for young children becoming malnourished and school-age children being unable to return to school. UNICEF calls for a province-wide approach throughout Lanao del Sur to ensure that children and their families fully recover from the emergency.

The situation of children living in Lanao del Sur was among the worst in the country even before the conflict. It is the poorest province in the country with well over 60 per cent of families living in poverty and inadequate coverage of essential services in many parts of the province. With many displaced families moving from Marawi City to other areas in Lanao del Sur (as well as to Lanao del Norte), the capacity of the province to provide essential services for children, and the capacity of host families to support their displaced relatives has been even further challenged.

Many families apart from those displaced from Marawi City have been affected, including around 500,000 children. Children in host families have shared their homes, food, possessions, and school materials with children temporarily living with them.

“While recognizing the good progress made to assist over 40,000 families to return to their homes in Marawi City, many children’s lives are still far from returning to normal. A comprehensive approach is needed to focus not only children from Marawi City but for children in all of the 39 municipalities in the province,” UNICEF Philippines Lotta Sylwander said.

Almost half of all children in Lanao del Sur were malnourished even before the Marawi crisis. Without the means to generate livelihoods and having to sell their assets, affected families have become even poorer. This has reduced quality and quantity of food intake for children and puts them at greater risk of malnutrition.

UNICEF is concerned that without significant additional investments in community-based nutrition programmes and cash support programmes to restore household incomes in Lanao del Sur, the number of children malnourished will increase, including children with life-threatening severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

UNICEF is concerned that around 100,000 children may already have missed a year’s schooling by now. Without significant focus to support education services to get all children back to school, many of them will miss up to two academic years of schooling and may never be able to fully catch-up.

UNICEF has been assisting children and families since the start of the conflict. Together with partners, UNICEF has been able to:
• Screen 40,000 children aged 6-59 months in evacuation centres and in host communities for malnutrition and refer 214 children with severe acute malnutrition to life-saving services.
• Provide over 100,000 people with sanitation and hygiene promotion, over 20,000 with improved access to clean water and some 400,000 with essential water and sanitation and hygiene information though mass media.
• Assist 35,000 children to return to school including providing 6,500 children with essential learning materials
• Ensure safe spaces for 8,000 children, including providing psychosocial recovery support services.
• Strengthen government-led partner coordination through technical support for WASH, education, nutrition and child protection.

 

 
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