WATCH: A dad, a baby, and an evacuation center

This is the story of a young father and his baby displaced by armed conflict in Marawi.

Type: Video

Did you sleep in a crib as a baby?

This question might sound silly, but answers might shock you.

Not all Filipino children sleep in their own beds, not all infants enjoy the comforts of a crib, and not everyone has a roof over their head.

In evacuation centers, most people sleep on the floor – with only a banig (mat), a few cardboards, or blankets protecting their backs.

Children are not exempted.

Meanwhile, some parents make cribs out of folded blankets, ropes, and a kulambo (mosquito net). (WATCH: Giving birth in a time of crisis)

Saidomar is among the thousands displaced by armed conflict in Marawi City. They were forced to leave their home, their jobs, and everything behind.

For more than 3 months now, Saidomar’s family has been staying in an evacuation center. Despite difficulties, the young father is doing all he can to look after his 8-month-old baby.

A dad, a baby, and an evacuation center

Making do

“My baby sleeps in a makeshift bed,” said Saidomar. “We folded blankets to make a bed, so that our baby’s body won’t hurt that much.”

The 24-year-old dad does the same for his wife.

Although the evacuation center is equipped with some electric fans, it’s simply not enough. It feels especially hot since the area is overcrowded.

“We just manually fan our baby, so that he won’t feel so warm,” Saidomar said.

Families sleep in designated spaces like small plots, but instead of land, it’s floor tiles. Their plots are separated from other families by bags and boxes.

They also share a communal bathroom.

A dad, a baby, and an evacuation center

Hoping for the best

Skin diseases and respiratory infections are among the top health concerns of families staying in evacuation centers.

Upon arriving at the evacuation center, Saidonor’s baby already fell ill. He had to be confined in a nearby hospital.

“Now my baby is experiencing fever again,” Saidonor said. “Because in this environment, children really get sick.”

The young father hopes that his baby won’t have to grow up in an evacuation center. He hopes for the conflict to soon end, so that he and his baby can finally go home.

Together, let’s save Marawi’s children.

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