Deaths among Zamboanga City ‘bakwits’ climb to 155

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/08 August) – The number of deaths among residents displaced by the 20-day standoff in September last year had reached 155 prompting humanitarian groups and health officials to intensify efforts for the evacuees.

The standoff started Sept. 9 when hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front members loyal to founding chair Nur Misuari infiltrated several coastal barangays in this city.

Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, City Health Officer, said Friday that pneumonia remained the primary cause of deaths with 31 or 20 percent of the total mortalities recorded from Sept. 9 to August 3 this year.

Agbulos said 56 percent of those who died were males and 49 percent were children below five years old.

He said multipurpose halls that would serve as sub-health centers have been built through the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

He said construction of the multipurpose hall at the transitory site in Barangay Taluksangay was almost complete and another one was being built at the transitory site in Barangay Tulungatung.

City government records showed the transitory site in Taluksangay houses 396 families or 1,946 persons while the one in Tulungatung hosts 433 families or 2,536 individuals

Agbulos added the construction of the multipurpose hall at the Masepla transitory site in Barangay Mampang will start as soon as the facility in Tulungatung is completed.

The Masepla transitory site houses 296 families or 1,457 persons.

Agbulos said hygiene kits were also distributed to pregnant and lactating women in the evacuation centers.

He said the camp managers were trained on first aid “so they can attend to patients if the need arises.”

The first aid kits were provided by the United National Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization.

A total of 4,776 families or 25,498 individuals are still living in five evacuation centers and six transitory sites based on the latest record of the city government. (MindaNews)