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40,000 DISPLACED HOMLESS IN PHILIPPINES ZAMBOAGA CITY

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Nearly ten months after an uprising by a Moro faction had left areas of Zamboanga City in shambles, some 40,000 residents remain without homes, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported.
Pascal Mauchle, head of the delegation of the ICRC in the Philippines, said that although a number of people had been relocated to transitional sites around Zamboanga City, “efforts should continue to ensure that services such as water supply and sanitation are provided before moving people to these transitional sites”.
He said that provision for more durable living shelters is necessary as the rainy season in the country starts.
Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Soliman said in April the government is working to provide more permanent shelters for the displaced residents.

  • But months later, thousands of residents remain mired in difficult living conditions in overcrowded evacuation centres. Some of these people get by staying with their relative and are largely dependent on humanitarian assistance.
  • The ICRC said the government needs to do more to improve the situation of the displaced.
  • “Poor sanitation practices and unsuitable facilities in evacuation centres along the Cawa-Cawa shoreline and the Joaquin Enriquez Stadium, still housing 17,000 displaced, create ideal conditions for the spread of disease,” ICRC said.
  • It added that the ICRC, working together with the Philippine National Red Cross and in conjunction with the local water board, is improving the sanitation and water supply in various evacuation centres and transitional sites.
  • ICRC has also tried to strengthen the resilience of the displaced community through cash-for-work schemes and unconditional cash grants, benefiting nearly 50,000 people.
  • “These people struggle every day to make ends meet. Not knowing when they will be able to resume their normal lives is a tremendous burden on an already exhausted community,” Gareth Gleed, the delegate in charge of ICRC activities in Zamboanga, said.
It can be recalled that tens of thousands of Zamboanga City residents had been left homeless following an incident on September 9, 2013 when followers of Moro leader Nur Misuari launched assaults on military and police installations in the city. The attacks damaged houses as well as public and private structures.
Misuari was former chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a group that signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996. 
While the MNLF as an organisation had honoured the agreement, a faction led by their former leader was responsible for the September 9, 2013 attack and for previous similar actions in Zamboanga City as well as in Sulu.
The displaced residents comprise Muslims and Christians and a considerable number are ethnic Badjaos.
A largely nomadic group that lives in parts of Southern Mindanao as well as Malaysia. 

Source: Agency
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