No. of evacuees swells to 60,000 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 September 2013 14:09

The number of evacuees has swelled to more than 60,000 as the Zamboanga City crisis entered its 7th day yesterday.

DSWD disclosed that 44,472 are seeking shelter at the Zamboanga Sports Complex.

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said at least 3,705 families are also in 18 evacuation centers, fleeing conflict areas.

Rolling stores of the National Food Authority are going around the city to deliver rice to residents. Supply is good for at least 40 days.

Soliman said supplementary feeding started yesterday in daycare centers run by NGOs. It is for pregnant and lactating women, as well as children.

Today, cooking stations in barangays affected by the conflict, will be set up. Thus far, everybody is being fed 3 meals a day, she added.

Soliman also said they have started to list families whose houses were burnt, and who must be assisted because they have no capacity to rebuild. “We will be working closely with the city government in terms of the rebuilding in safe places, done in a more organized manner because some of these are informal settlers.”

Trauma and stress debriefings are being handled by the Department of Health. Evacuees were said to be missing their telenovelas that is why the Department of Social Welfare and Development is thinking of bringing television sets into the evacuation centers.

The number of evacuation centers has increased to 23.

Various community kitchens have been established to serve the meals for evacuees, while 8 out of the 24 portalet (portable toilet) units have arrived. Tents have also been set up to health organizations to provide debriefing and counseling services.

Soliman affirmed that DSWD will continue to work with NGOs, civil society organizations and international aid organizations for the continued relief assistance for affected residents.

In the midst of the crisis, Soliman recognized the contributions of the private sector and individuals who have risen to the occasion. “Nakakataba ng puso ang contribution ng private sector,” said Solaiman.

She noted that aside from various donations to evacuees, several residents have taken initiative to share food with government security personnel and police within their area.

This proves, said Soliman, that “ang Zamboanga ay hindi po magpapatalo dito”. — With report from Jasmine Mohammadsali