To ensure the delivery of protective services to evacuees of Typhoon Ulysses, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to provide technical assistance to local government units (LGUs) in the proper management of evacuation centers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the lead agency for the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, DSWD aims to ensure that minimum health and safety protocols are followed in evacuation centers by observing the Camp Coordination and Camp Management and Protection COVID-19 Operational Guidance that the Department issued in May 2020.

The policy, intended for CCCM and Internally Displaced Person (IDP) protection implementers, provides guidance in preparing for and responding to displacement due to disasters while preventing the transmission of COVID-19 in camps and camp-like settings. The DSWD Operational Guidance states that it is necessary to preposition Personal Protective Equipment for camp  management personnel and volunteers, and strictly limit the number of IDPs per camp. Accommodation areas, tents, and modular tents or partitions must be properly distanced, and that quarantine or isolation areas for suspected cases of COVID-19 must also be identified.

In terms of setting of up of camps, the Operational Guidance states that it is necessary to ensure that a camp management desk is available and that evacuees have access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities, such as water systems, latrines, handwashing areas, or bathing cubicles with social distancing markings in camps.

The presence of Barangay Peace Action Teams (BPATs), Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT), Barangay Health Workers or Barangay Nutrition Scholar (BHW / BNS), and other local health units at evacuation sites must also be established as they are responsible in the observance of the health status of IDPs and monitoring of the entrance and exit points in evacuation camps.

In terms of information management, DSWD encourages the establishment of community-based surveillance (CBS) for contact monitoring and case investigation of IDPs who are suspected cases or have mild virus symptoms.

The Department also assists LGUs in ensuring that camp managers are ready to respond to suspected and COVID-19 cases inside camps in coordination with local health units as well as to gender-based violence cases occurring in the centers.

Apart from the implementation of the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, DSWD also provides technical assistance in the establishment of children- and women- friendly spaces in evacuation centers as well as in the provision of psychosocial support to IDPs. ###