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Int’l Red Cross Acts to Help People in Zamboanga Violence

Geneva/Manila (ICRC): The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is concerned for civilians affected by the outbreak of armed violence in the city of Zamboanga on Mindanao Island. Together with the Philippine Red Cross, the ICRC is ensuring vital aid reaches evacuation centres where thousands of displaced people are sheltering.

“We are closely monitoring the evolving situation in Zamboanga. Fighting is taking place in an area of the city where many civilians may still be living,” said Pascal Mauchle, head of the ICRC’s delegation in the Philippines. “Therefore, we call on those involved in the fighting to act with extreme caution to ensure civilian life and property are spared at all times.”

The ICRC is working with the Philippine Red Cross to respond to the needs of those displaced by the fighting, which according to sources exceeds 10,000 people. Parcels containing enough food for 27,000 daily rations were provided to the local Red Cross branch in Zamboanga yesterday. These will be used to feed people sheltering in evacuation centres set up by the local authorities. The rations consist of basic food items, such as rice, oil, salt, sardines, soya sauce, sugar and coffee.

The ICRC also delivered kitchen utensils and 50 tarpaulins to provide basic shelter for displaced families.

In addition, the ICRC is supporting the temporary medical hospital that has been set up in Western Mindanao State University to care for the wounded and the sick. As a preventive measure, the organization has furnished it with enough medical supplies to treat 50 weapon-wounded people and provide general care for approximately 1,000 patients.

The Philippine Red Cross has deployed two ambulances and about 45 volunteers to assist the local population. Besides setting up kitchens in the various evacuation centres, and distributing hot meals, the Red Cross branch in Zamboanga has installed a water bladder in the Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex to ensure the provision of drinking water for the displaced.