Australia is providing up to $252,000 in humanitarian aid to civilians affected by fighting between Filipino soldiers and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in southern Philippines.
The aid will help thousands of families seeking refuge in evacuation centres who are among the 100,000 people displaced by fighting that began on 9 September when MNLF rebels attacked Mindanao’s Zamboanga City.
They will be given emergency survival kits containing food, sleeping mats, water containers, mosquito nets and blankets by the Philippine Red Cross, and rice from the World Food Programme.
Australia will also provide health and hygiene items through the United Nations Population Fund. More than 200 people were killed and up to 10,000 homes were destroyed during the fighting in Zamboanga City, which spread to the nearby island province of Basilan.
In recent years, the Australian aid program has aimed to improve situation in Mindanao, which has been ravaged by almost 40 years of violence between the Philippine government and rebel fighters. The Australian aid program is helping local communities and security forces in Mindanao to better manage conflict situations. Australia is also funding women’s participation in peace processes that bring together Muslim, Christian and Indigenous women.