ZAMBOANGA CITY: Dozens of refugees on Monday rallied in front of a social welfare center in Zamboanga City demanding for food.
The refugees, who fled the deadly violence here that left over 400 people dead, have been complaining about lack of provisions and other basic necessities.
About 40 refugees trooped to the operations center of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at the local sports arena on Sunday evening, but foods packs were only released on Monday.
It was not immediately known why the refugees were complaining about the lack of food when there are tens of millions of pesos worth of donations from various local governments and international and local donors.
Thousands of families were still living in temporary shelters, where 28 people, mostly children, have died from various diseases. Just recently, a Muslim child named Al Kaiser died in the same evacuation center due to severe dehydration and diarrhea.
Evacuees were complaining about the poor sanitation at the sports complex—now dirty and diseases are threatening the lives of the sickly and the old, and children who do not have immediate access to basic health services.
The Red Cross has put up clinic in various tents, but is also overwhelmed by the huge number of the sick people and others needing medical assistance.
Many evacuees complained for not getting enough food or medical care from local authorities. Others begged to be allowed to return home and rebuilt what was left after three weeks of street battles that forced more than 130,000 people to flee their homes.
Just this month, six evacuees—looking for a warm place to sleep—broke into a storage room of the Commission on Elections inside the sports complex and used it as their temporary shelter.
Police said the refugees, who are all residents of Rio Hondo village, also fled the fighting.