Donors impressed with Zambo efforts; commit long term aid PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 June 2014 13:47

Impressed with the way recovery and rehabilitation efforts are undertaken in Zamboanga City, foreign donors have committed to continue support and assistance to help ensure that the city realizes its goal to build back better.

Headed by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Luiza Carvalho, the donors mission on Tuesday (June 17) visited the ground zero in Mariki, the Cawa-cawa boulevard, the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex (grandstand) and the Masepla, Mampang transitory site to assess the situation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) or families affected by the September 2013 siege.

The mission included Canadian Ambassador Niel Reeder and representatives from New Zealand, Australia, Spain, USA and Japan and officials from various UN agencies.

In a meeting with the different rehabilitation clusters headed by Mayor Beng Climaco after the site visits, the donors individually expressed confidence that the city can very well achieve its goal of constructing better communities and better living conditions for the affected families with sufficient help from partners and donors.

Each country representatives pledged their continued support through interventions by various agencies. The support would guarantee constant programs and projects related to health and sanitation, water, livelihood and temporary shelters.

Nine months after the siege, over 4,000 families or over 25,000 individuals remain in evacuation centers and transitory sites.

Sec. Soliman said while the national government is resolute in the implementation of the permanent solutions in coordination with the local government, the challenge remains in providing temporary shelters for the IDPs in evacuation centers with the grandstand housing the biggest number of families.

Soliman committed to download P5 million for the lease of a 25-hectare property in Kasayangan which will be converted into a transitory site to house the families currently staying at the grandstand.

Efforts to improve sanitation and to intensify health programs will also be stepped up with the technical assistance from partner agencies.

For her part, Carvalho commended the people on the ground who are making things possible for the IDPs of Zamboanga. She said the assistance, despite the limited funds and resources will continue.  “Reality is taking place in Zamboanga”.

Mayor Climaco in her report cited the various challenges besetting the city, as it intensifies recovery and rehabilitation efforts. She stressed that the city requires constant support and assistance from the national government and the UN agencies and partners to help ensure better future for the displaced.

The mayor likewise thanked the UN agencies and the donors for their generosity to Zamboanga IDPs.

Assistance from donors is infused through the different UN agencies and implemented in the form of interventions such as health, sanitation, education, water, livelihood, temporary shelter, gender based violence programs and numerous others.

The different UN agencies include United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), International Organization on Migration (IOM), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Development Porgram (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO), World Food Programme (WFP), Save the Children, ACF International, OXFOM and Community and Family Services International (CFSI) and numerous others. — Sheila Covarrubias