Saturday, October 26, 2013


These are the scenes from Zamboanga City's main evacuation center, the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex, better known as the Grandstand.
We usually come to this huge field for the Games ("Palaro"), be it national or even small groups or for those on training or friends going there for their daily run!
This is also the place for big gatherings like where the Fiesta Pilar Street Dancing ends!
But such a huge transformation!!!
This is now the site for the more than 120,000 evacuees as of Day 14, who are displaced from the affected conflict-ridden barangays of Sta. Barbara, Sta. Catalina, Rio Hondo, Mariki, Talon-Talon and Mampang among others.

From the Inquirer:
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The national government asked citizens on Saturday, September 21, to send more aid for more than 100,000 people who had fled heavy fighting between troops and Muslim rebels here, calling their plight a "humanitarian crisis."

What is a "Humanitarian Crisis?"
A humanitarian crisis (or "humanitarian disaster") is defined as a singular event or a series of events that are threatening in terms of health, safety or well being of a community or large group of people. It may be an internal or external conflict and usually occurs throughout a large land area. Local, national and international responses are necessary in such events.
Each humanitarian crisis is caused by different factors and as a result, each different humanitarian crisis requires a unique response targeted towards the specific sectors affected. This can result in either short-term or long-term damage. Humanitarian crises can either be natural disasters, man-made disasters or complex emergencies. In such cases, complex emergencies occur as a result of several factors or events that prevent a large group of people from accessing their fundamental needs, such as food, clean water or safe shelter.
Examples of humanitarian crises include armed conflicts, epidemics, famine, natural disasters and other major emergencies. All such crises may cause, involve or lead to a humanitarian crisis. As such, humanitarian crises are often interconnected and complex and several national and international agencies play roles in the repercussions of the incidences.
And here is an area marked WOMEN AND CHILDREN FRIENDLY SPACE.

And here are the children...

These images depict suffering... poverty... deprivation... difficulty... and our hearts cry as we feel the misery of their plight!  But somehow, in between faces of misfortune, there are still beautiful smiles which brighten the gloomy ambience! There is need for food and shelter. Any cover over their heads will do, but, the sun's heat may be scorching especially the noon sun! Of course, mats and blankets would really be needed to complement the tents since they are so exposed to the elements. So far, there had only be drizzles for a day which is fortunate enough while the authorities are still preparing better shelter for them. I heard of the radio that Rotary Club North has a project for improving shelter for the Badjao evacuees by the sea by putting up about 300 tents and calling for volunteers to help. Through MJune Bugante's FB Post, interested volunteers will meet at DPWH-Tumaga this September 23 8:00 a.m. for training before proceeding to the R.T. Lim Boulevard for the activity.
Dr. Agbulos smiles with the arrival of Dr. Ona and DOH assurance of support
A few days ago, I heard DOH/CHO Dr. Rodel Agbulos over the radio, that together with related agencies such as PRC and ZCMS, designated a unified Medical Clinic at the back of the tennis court to provide healthcare services and medicines and to streamline resources. They have an Immunization program as well as other Public Health programs to address the problems of sanitation and disease prevention. There have been reports of 4 measles and 1 chickenpox in the Evacuation Centers, so they are considering finding an isolation area or for referral to ZCMC-WMSU gym.  The CMC, DSWD, CSWD, DOH, CHO, PRC and all other agencies are trying their best to address the varied needs of the hundreds of thousands of evacuees and welcome so much the helping hands of the private citizens and groups.
The City, however, hopes that the private groups would coordinate with those in charge, so that distribution would be organized. 
We hear that there is enough food for the evacuees at this time, but considering the great number of those affected and the (un)expected number of days this will last, we realize that there will really be a lack of the basic needs. 
We thank everyone who are already extending their hearts and their hands (and to those who intend to do so) to Zamboanga City at our time of greatest need!
Thank you to, Fr. Elmer Sumile of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga for capturing the essence of the Zamboanga Crisis 2013 through these pictures! I hope i did justice to you photos!

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