NDRRMC: cost of Zambo humanitarian assistance hits P71-M

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/21 September)–The amount of humanitarian assistance extended to the victims of the Zamboanga standoff reached P71.2 million so far, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in a situational report released 6 a.m. Saturday.

That means at least P5.4 million worth of daily assistance if divided since the start of the crisis on September 9, after Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters loyal to founding chair Nur Misuari laid siege on some of the city’s coastal barangays.

The Zamboanga crisis entered Day 13 on Saturday.

The cost of humanitarian assistance is expected to rise since as of September 19, 20,643 families or 111,162 individuals remain in 57 evacuation centers across “Asia’s Latin City,” the NDRRMC report showed.

A small portion of the bakwits or internally displaced individuals, 1,790 families or 2,227 individuals, has sought shelter outside evacuation centers.

In total, the Zamboanga standoff has affected 23,794 families or 118,819 individuals from 14 barangays of Zamboanga and a village in Zamboanga Sibugay.

The P71.2 million assistance covered medicines, medical supplies and relief goods as well as financial assistance to the casualties and rescued hostages, the report said.

As of 6 a.m. Saturday, the NDRRMC reported that a total of 103 persons have been killed in the clashes—10 from the military, three from the police, 10 civilians and 80 MNLF fighters.

It added that 191 persons have been wounded—130 from the military, 30 from the police and 48 civilians.

At least 10, 160 houses, valued at P10.5 million, were burned down in the different parts of the city, the NDRRMC report said.

Earlier, Luiza Carvalho, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, called for an end to the hostilities in Zamboanga and for the safe passage of civilians caught in the crossfire.

“The United Nations calls on all parties involved to respect and protect the rights of the civilian population, provide special attention to women and children and avoid unnecessary human suffering by reaching [an] agreement to end the standoff,” she said in a statement.

US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. has echoed the calls of Carvalho for a humanitarian corridor to allow the passage of civilians held hostage by the MNLF fighters.

Thomas said the US government has allocated P27.4 million to support the humanitarian needs of those affected by the fighting.

President Benigno Aquino III remained in Zambonga for nine days now. He flew to Zamboanga on September 13 to manage the crisis situation. (MindaNews)