40,000 remain displaced in Zamboanga after clashes

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Monday, July 7, 2014

FORTY thousand individuals remain away from their homes nine months after the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) attempted to siege Zamboanga City, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported.

In a statement, the ICRC said 40,000 remain living in difficult conditions in overcrowded evacuation centers in the city and have not been able to return to their residences.

"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," said the ICRC.

Aside from being displaced, the Red Cross rued how many of the affected families remain largely dependent on humanitarian assistance.

"Many of the displaced were trapped in poverty even before the clashes in September last year left them bereft of their homes and without the few assets they had possessed," said the ICRC.

It noted how much remains to be desired from the present rehabilitation efforts being made by the government.

"Progress has been made in relocating a number of displaced people to transitional sites around the city… Nevertheless, efforts should continue," said the humanitarian organization.

The ICRC said another aspect that needs the attention of the authorities is the overall health situation in the area.

The ICRC said it is already refurbishing health stations damaged in the fighting and providing medicines, other supplies and technical and financial support to the local health authorities and the Zamboanga City Medical Center.

The ICRC has also set up a nutrition program for malnourished children under five years of age and for pregnant and lactating women with a view to reducing the number of preventable deaths. (HDT/Sunnex)

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