The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has reported that a growing number among thousands of people displaced by the fighting in Marawi City are suffering from various diseases and the number is feared to increase with the onset of the rainy season.
The reported diseases are diarrhea, upper respiratory infection, hypertension, and fever. The ICRC and different health facilities are providing medical assistance to the displaced residents, particularly those in various evacuation centers.
Jose Amigo, ICRC Health Coordinator in the Philippines, said the increase in the number of cases is obviously caused by the displaced population’s current living conditions.
“They – particularly children and the elderly – become at risk to water-borne diseases because of their limited access to basic water and sanitation facilities. They also become prone to communicable diseases because of the limited space in evacuation centers,” Amigo said in a statement.
Amigo added, “[t]he health situation is not yet critical at this point, but we fear that this may worsen in the coming days with prolonged displacement.”
The start of the rainy season may further burden the evacuees, he added.
More than 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Marawi and majority of them are temporarily seeking shelter with their relatives. On the other hand, thousands have been cramped in evacuation centers, within and outside the city, for more than two weeks now.
Heidi Anicete, head of communication, said the ICRC has been working closely with hospitals and other health facilities within and around Marawi City to augment their existing capacity.
“To date, the ICRC has provided additional medicines and medical supplies to 11 hospitals and health facilities in Iligan and Balo-i in Lanao del Norte and in Tamparan, Balindong, Piagapo, Saguiaran and Marawi in Lanao del Sur,” she said.
The ICRC has also supported the mini-hospital setup by the rural health unit of Saguiaran town by providing 10 folding beds for patients and a supplementary kit of essential medicines and supplies that can serve 10,000 individuals for three months.