Signs of fear, traumatic distress visible among Lanao IDP’s — CHR

Oct. 14, 2008

Tubod, Lanao del Norte-Signs of traumatic distress such as suspicion, anxiety and fear are visible among the internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in the evacuation centers of Lanao del Norte.

This was among the findings of the team from the regional office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which conducted an investigation on human rights violation and monitoring of the human rights situation in the evacuation centers of Lanao del Norte.

The CHR taem visited the Mariano Badelles Auditorium in Kauswagan, Riverside High School and Kulasihan Elementary School in Kolambugan, as well, as 17 others in Ozamiz City and Tudela of Misamis Occidental.

Their fear is caused by the proliferation of text messages warning about future attacks by the lawless MILF group, being forwarded by the residents to the public without being verified through the proper authorities, said Atty. Jeanne Ivy Abrina, regional CHR officer-in-charge (OIC).

IDPs are free to move in and out of the evacuation centers. Some even go to work on their farms in the day but, at night, they return to seek refuge at the evacuation centers.

There were also complaints by the IDPs on not having equal access to humanitarian assistance, basic goods and social services as well as relief interventions. IDPs reported that not all of them can readily access these psycho-social services. The CHR team also noted the lack of cooperation by some of the local government officials.

The team also found inadequate facilities in the evacuation centers, particularly toilets and inadequate access to water. The team did note the availability of medical-dental services to the IDP’s made thru the medical-dental caravans conducted by the LDN provincial health office (PHO).

Schools were open and classes have resumed. No incidents of human trafficking in persons of the IDP’s and cases of sexual abuses have been reported within the evacuation centers, Abrina said.

The CHR team also noted the presence to humanitarian workers from the government, non-government and international organizations, like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF). (RCA/PIA10)

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