Government of Japan donates $800k for UNICEF’s Health, Water and Sanitation programmes in Marawi

Protecting displaced children, families and host communities from disease and illnesses

31 July 2017

MANILA, 31 July 2017 – Responding to heightened risks of diarrhoea outbreaks and other health hazards among displaced children, families and host communities in Marawi City and surrounding areas, the Government of Japan has extended a US$800,000 grant to UNICEF for a stronger response in health, water, sanitation, and hygiene. Reports of increased incidences of diarrhoea including acute watery diarrhoea draw attention to scaling up sanitation responses, access to clean water, and reinforce immunization and nutrition services in areas with large concentrations of displaced families.

“UNICEF thanks the government of Japan for the generous support that will enable us to scale up response to the displaced and affected population of Marawi. Access to immunization, nutrition, safe drinking water and clean sanitation is a fundamental human right of children and families we serve. Impeded access of these life-saving services poses significant public health threat and adversely affects the livelihoods and safety of women and children to further exacerbates humanitarian crisis and displacement,” said UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander, upon receiving the grant through the Embassy of Japan in Manila.

“UNICEF programmes for children draws strength from continued partnership with the Government of Japan and the generous and timely response received in reaching Filipino children and communities in need,” added Sylwander.

The armed conflict has resulted in 359,680 people displaced (as of 29 July 2017), with many of them living in host communities or across the 75 evacuation centres. Over 200,000 children have been displaced. Many of those living in host-communities are affected by scarcity of household resources, including food and school supplies, in one of the poorest areas in the country.

“Taking the strong bi-lateral ties between Japan and the Philippines into consideration, which have been re-affirmed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Rodrigo Duterte on a number of occasions, Japan is extending this humanitarian grant aid to support the affected population in Mindanao,” the Embassy of Japan Embassy said in a statement.

The Marawi crisis is now into its third month and there is no expectation that families will be able to return to their homes soon. Needs have been reported across all humanitarian sectors, but poor sanitation and hygiene is key concern in heavily congested evacuation centres and host communities with largest numbers of displaced families.

UNICEF response in the Water and Sanitation sector so far includes distribution of 1,751 hygiene kits and 2,166 water kits, and hygiene promotion sessions in four areas of Lanao del Norte, Pantao Ragat, Pantar and Balo-i and Iligan City; and Saguiaran in Lanao del Sur. UNICEF also provided water storage bladders, jerry cans and water purification tablets to ensure adequate clean water for drinking and general household use to ease sanitation conditions in evacuation centers.

UNICEF-supported water and Sanitation response have so far benefited nearly 25,000 people. Health response has reached a few thousand children with micronutrient and Vitamin A supplements along with 3,000 pregnant and lactating women with iron-folic acid tablets. At least 20 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and 79 children with Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) were identified and managed. UNICEF promoted breastfeeding for hundreds of young children by providing breastfeeding kits and sensitization programmes for caregivers.

UNICEF has also supported the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, along with other partners, to construct some 198 toilets (both temporary and semi-permanent) and 40 bathing facilities including laundry areas. Working with partners in government, schools and NGOs, UNICEF stands ready to assist local government agencies in the delivery of basic services to the affected communities in and around Marawi including psycho-social support to children; and encourages local organisations to provide similar services to children and families who would need them.

Media contacts

Zafrin Chowdhury
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Philippines
Tel: +63 917 867 8366
Marge Francia
Communication Officer
UNICEF Philippines
Tel: +63 917 858 9447


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