Displaced Zamboanga folk need more help – UN

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More than 64,000 people displaced by the fighting that broke out between a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in September 2013 are in need of humanitarian support, a United Nations agency said on Wednesday.

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Luiza Carvalho, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for the Philippines, said in a statement that there are still some 17,000 people who are living in “extremely difficult conditions in overcrowded evacuation centers with inadequate sanitation.”

These people are currently staying at the Cawa-Cawa shoreline in and around Zamboanga’s nearby sports complex.

“These people remain most vulnerable to disease and exploitation, while other families now living in temporary housing in transition sites or being hosted by relatives or friends also require humanitarian support,” Carvalho said.

More than 10,000 homes were damaged in the fighting eight months ago.

In consultation with local and national authorities, humanitarian groups have revised their Zam–boanga Action Plan to address the needs of the 64,600 displaced people through the end of August.

“Donor support for the emergency phase of the response helped to alleviate the worst suffering and save lives. However, very little funding has been received since October. Without more funds, humanitarians will not be able to implement the critical programming needed now to ensure the still fragile humanitarian situation for displaced people in Zamboanga improves rather than deteriorates,” Carvalho said.

Humanitarian organizations need an additional $7.4 million in funding to support families that lost everything, she added.

“People who have suffered the dual trauma of conflict and the marginal life as a displaced person need help to obtain life’s basic necessities, to live again safely and in dignity and to recover the means to earn a living,” the UN official said.

The $5.2 million that donors provided at the start of the crisis, including $3 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund and $1.6 million from Japan, made it possible for humanitarians to provide urgently needed assistance, including food for almost 120,000 people in the first three months of the crisis.

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