Philippines

Zamboanga City - Five years after the siege

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Zamboanga City – Five years after the Siege

More than five years after the Zamboanga siege in 2013, 1,080 persons (216 families) remain in five (5) transitory sites (TS) out of the 119,714 persons (23,794 families) displaced at the onset of the conflict. 2,250 persons (or 450 families) are being hosted by their friends and relatives as of May 2019.

Those in the Transitory Sites remain in difficult conditions due to the old, if not damaged, bunkhouses in Buggoc, Rio Hondo, Kasanyangan, and Mampang. Aside from dilapidated bunkhouses and boardwalks, IDPs continue to face other protection issues such as poor sanitation & hygiene, safety & security risks, and limited access to educational and livelihood opportunities. Women, children, and persons with specific needs (PWSN) are particularly vulnerable.

The report provides an overview of the efforts made by UNHCR to address protection needs of IDPs in Zamboanga city over the last 5 years. The document also highlights current protection issues with regard to shelter, livelihood, humanitarian assistance and access to education, with special focus on the way forward to support IDPs in different accommodation settings (Transitory sites & home-based).

Background

Fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) erupted on O9 September 2013. The conflict affected sixteen (16) barangays in Zamboanga City, including the coastal barangays of Rio Hondo, Mariki, Sta. Catalina, and Sta. Barbara. Many houses were burned, hundreds of civilians were held captive, and thousands were displaced from their homes.

The conflict further spread and caused displacement in the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu.
On 25 September 2013, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (URHC) Luiza Carvalho released a statement on behalf of the UN, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation and the growing needs of the persons of concern.

On 01 October 2013, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) also requested the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to recommend to the president that Zamboanga City be declared under a state of calamity on the basis of a humanitarian crisis.

At the onset of the crisis, a total of 119,714 individuals (23,794 families) were displaced. Of this total, 28,976 individuals (5,881 families) took temporary shelter with their relatives or relatives — locally referred to as evacuation “home-based IDPs. Another 90,738 individuals (17,913 in individuals) sought refuge in seventy (70) evacuation centers in different locations in the city.

With the establishment of an Operations Center by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of Region IX and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao — Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM-HEART), local NGOs and UN Agencies Stationed themselves in Zamboanga City to complement the humanitarian response work led by government agencies. UN Agencies established field units at Garden Orchid Hotel to effectively funnel humanitarian assistance into the city and its displaced population.