THE United Nations (UN) is calling for a humanitarian support for thousands of
families who were caught in the crossfire between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines Luiza Carvalho said that some 70, 000 residents are currently staying in the main sports complex which is overcrowded and lacks sufficient sanitation facilities.
Carvalho added that more than 109,000 people were displaced.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that there is a real risk of a disease outbreak and an urgent need for food, drinking water, health services, cooking utensils, tents and other necessities.
“We are particularly concerned that aid is delivered in an impartial manner, with the
needs of the most vulnerable met and those outside the evacuation centers not forgotten,” Carvalho said.
The UN official also appealed to soldiers and rebel fighters to respect and protect humanitarian workers tasked to help people in armed conflict.
“We expect that all humanitarian workers providing support to the victims of violence are protected and respected, and their safety is ensured by all actors,” Carvalho said.
The OCHA also warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis in Zamboanga City.
“We are increasingly alarmed by the situation and the growing needs of people caught up with violence. We are particularly concerned for the most vulnerable, especially the well-being of women and children,” she said.
At least 132 people have died from the more than two weeks of fighting between state security forces and Muslim rebels.
The UN agency estimated that some 158,000 people have been affected by the violence and more than 10,000 homes have been destroyed.