Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines

(Manila, 13 September, 2013) - Following the recent outbreak of violence in Zamboanga City, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, Ms. Luiza Carvalho expressed concern for the suffering of people affected by the conflict.

The Humanitarian Coordinator called for an immediate end to the violence today, “I deeply regret the loss of innocent civilian lives,” she said “and I appeal for safe passage of civilians caught in the cross fire.”

The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) acknowledges the statement issued by the Government of the Philippines highlighting its priority to safeguard and protect the civilian population.

Armed clashes, which erupted on Monday between government forces and non-state actors caused more than 16,000 people to seek refuge in 20 evacuation centres across Zamboanga City, while an estimated 136,000 are affected by violence. An unknown number of people also remain trapped in affected coastal villages unable to reach evacuation centres in the city.

Five people have died in clashes so far, including four civilians, and 37 people are injured. A curfew is in place from 2000hrs to 0500hrs. All schools and almost all shops are closed, with only essential government offices open.

The government and humanitarian partners have provided food packs, tents and non-food items and a mobile storage unit. An emergency hospital facility was established by the government for the displaced.

The HCT is ready to support the Government of the Philippines in its efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the civilian population affected by the armed clashes in the City of Zamboanga.

“I urge all parties involved to respect and protect the rights of the civilian population, provide special attention to women and children and avoid unnecessary human suffering by reaching agreement to end the standoff,” said Carvalho.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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