Support needed for 64,000 people displaced in Zamboanga

21 May 2014

Eight months after 120,000 people fled fighting in the west of Zamboanga City, more than half remain displaced and in need of continued humanitarian support.

Manila: Eight months after fighting broke out between a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Zamboanga City on 9 September, more than 64,000 people who fled the fighting remain displaced within the city and in need of humanitarian support.

“Almost 17,000 people are still living in extremely difficult conditions in overcrowded evacuation centres with inadequate sanitation at the Cawa-Cawa shoreline and in and around Zamboanga’s nearby sports complex,” said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Philippines, Luiza Carvalho.

“These people remain most vulnerable to disease and exploitation, while other families now living in temporary housing in transition sites or being hosted by relatives or friends also require humanitarian support,” she said.

With more than 10,000 homes destroyed or damaged in the fighting in September, the Government does not expect to complete the return or permanent relocation of the people still displaced within Zamboanga until mid-2015.

Humanitarian organizations have a critical role to play in the interim to help ensure that the displaced families continue receiving the support they need. In consultation with local and national authorities, humanitarians have revised their Zamboanga Action Plan to address the needs of the 64,600 displaced people through the end of August. 

“Donor support for the emergency phase of the response helped to alleviate the worst suffering and save lives. However, very little funding has been received since October. Without more funds, humanitarians will not be able to implement the critical programming needed now to ensure the still fragile humanitarian situation for displaced people in Zamboanga improves rather than deteriorates,” said Carvalho.

“We need an additional $7.4 million in funding to support families that lost everything. People who have suffered the dual trauma of conflict and the marginal life as a displaced person need help to obtain life’s basic necessities, to live again safely and in dignity and to recover the means to earn a living.”

The $5.2 million that donors provided at the start of the crisis, including $3 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund and $1.6 million from Japan, made it possible for humanitarians to provide urgently needed assistance, including food for almost 120,000 people in the first three months of the crisis. Hundreds of latrines have been built as part of efforts to improve water and sanitation conditions in the evacuation centres and transition sites, while disease surveillance has helped to prevent outbreaks and healthcare has been provided, including through mobile teams.

For further information and to download the full Zamboanga Action Plan, please visit: http://www.unocha.org/cap/appeals/philippines-revision-zamboanga-action-plan-2014-october-2013-august-2014

For further information, please contact OCHA Philippines Public Information:


Russell Geekie at geekie@un.org, or +63 9175977219
Anne Skatvedt at skatvedt@un.org or +63 927 6334287