Philippines

Philippines: Armed conflict evacuees in Sulu and Maguindanao get food aid

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In response to the urgent food needs of some 8,400 families or 50,400 persons displaced by the ongoing armed conflict between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the province of Sulu, Social Welfare and Development Officer-in-Charge Luwalhati F. Pablo said that DSWD through its field office in Zamboanga City has released P700,000.00 worth of relief assistance.

The relief assistance which consisted of family packs of ready to-eat -food such as rice, sardines, corned beef, coffee, milk and noodles was released upon the request of DSWD-ARMM which initially assessed the needs of the evacuees.

The assistance augmented the relief goods provided by DSWD-ARMM amounting to P200,000 and the local government of Sulu which extended 500 sacks of rice worth P450,000.00.

"The goods will be channelled through the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Sulu chapter, which will handle the distribution of relief goods to the evacuees in compliance with Comelec Resolution regarding distribution of relief goods during the election period," she explained.

In a related development, DSWD-FO XII (Cotabato City) Regional Director Bai Zorahayda Taha said that to date, the armed conflict which sparked on April 14 between two political groups in Pagalungan, Maguindanao has displaced 1,374 families or 8,203 individuals.

Six (6) evacuation centers have been set up in Mahad Fort Pikit, Fort Pikit Elementary School, Talitay Elementary School, Inug-ug Elementary School, Inug-ug Barangay Hall, and Mahad Multipurpose Hall located in nearby town of Pikit serving about 309 families or 1,846 persons.

On the other hand, 978 families or 5,885 individuals sought temporary refuge with their relatives and friends in neighboring towns.

The evacuees were provided with rice amounting to P250,000.00 by the local government of Pikit and the UN-World Food Programme.

The DSWD is also coordinating with Save the Children Foundation, Community and Family Services International (CFSI), and partner non-government organizations (NGOs) in the monitoring and distribution of relief supplies to the evacuees and all affected families in the areas.