ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 11 September 2013) – “All patients from all wards have been evacuated,” said Dr. Concepcion, a pediatrician who was designated as senior house officer for the night of the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) wards that were moved to the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU).
About 50 patients in stable condition were accommodated at the WMSU Gymnasium.
Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients were earlier moved to the Edwin Andrews Air Base (EAAB).
“The Sanitarium has become the extension of the ZCMC. Patients there are those who underwent Caesarean operations, surgical operations,” Concepcion said, adding that those with psychological concerns were brought to a special area in Harmony Village.
The series of medical evacuations from the ZCMC, considered as the biggest hospital in the Zamboanga Peninsula Region, was ordered by Dr. Romeo Ong, hospital director, following the unlawful entry last Monday of armed members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the villages of Mariki, Rio Hondo, Talontalon, Sta. Barbara, and a portion of Sta. Catalina, where ZCMC is located.
During the evacuation of patients in the Obstetrical-Gynecological Ward, a woman on her seventh month of pregnancy said she jumped out the window upon hearing the exchange of gunshots.
Meanwhile, as of Tuesday morning, a total of almost 4,000 residents from affected barangays are taking refuge at three major evacuation centers here, according to an update from the City Mayor’s Office.
The temporary shelters are at the St. Ignatius Parish in Tetuan and the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex in Baliwasan, where more than a thousand persons are housed each; and at the Tetuan Central School where at least 1,500 evacuees have been registered as of past 5 p.m. Tuesday.
“Some of these evacuees are not really from barangays presently occupied by the MNLF, but are considered as presumptive evacuees” because they come from neighboring villages, a volunteer said.
In an official statement by the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, the Jesuit institution said: “How we wish the hostage-takers would see the thousands of evacuees who are now seeking shelter in the city Grand Stand. See the disruption of nearby hospitals that had to transfer by the cowardly act of these lawless elements. Add(ed) to this is the human shield in order to move around—this is a crime against humanity.”