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Floods have not dried up but donations have

MANILA (Agencies) : First up, during September Zamboanga City was hit by a siege orchestrated by the Moro National Liberation Front.

Then, on October 7, CBCP News reported that it became victim to Mother Nature, who opened her skies above the city of squalor, trauma, hunger and destroyed hopes and livelihoods, leaving vast areas of it under water.

By October 11, it was reported that while the floods still had not dried up, donations to feed and house the tens of thousands of homeless people had.

The bishops’ news service reported Monsignor Crisologo Manongas, the administrator of the archdiocese of Zamboanga, as saying that heavy rains and flooding have increased the need for humanitarian aid in the city, which is still reeling from the bloody 20-day siege.

He added that the humanitarian condition in the area remains critical, as more aid is needed to respond to the needs of the victims. 

But donor fatigue seems to have overtaken the Philippine people, whose generosity has been tested time and time again this year in the disaster-plagued country.

“We would welcome any help either through the diocese or the government,” he told Radyo Veritas in Manila on October 7.

“The evacuees from war cannot return to their homes, so we have a longer time to feed them and now there are additional evacuees from the floods,” Monsignor Manongas said.

He admitted that the double crisis is stretching the resources of the diocese beyond its limit and the poor response to appeals for aid has made the situation critical, as more families continue to suffer from floods.

“We have another set of evacuees running away from floods. That’s our situation here. Another set of people to feed and another
set of homes to repair,” he explained.

“We already have a place to relocate those who cannot go back (home) anymore. We will start building temporary homes and even permanent homes. We allocated two-hectares from the archdiocesan property for relocation,” he related.

Monsignor Manongas thanked those who have donated and those who continue to give support to the relief effort.

He said that the situation has been aggravated as more people have been evacuated because of incessant rains that have inundated several villages and parts of the city.

He described this as adding misery to misery for the thousands of families that had already been displaced by the fighting between the military and the Moro National Liberation Front, who are still holed up in temporary shelter, which cannot offer adequate support for their needs.

“We have another set of evacuees now,” he said on air. “They have to be transferred, because they are other evacuees from low-lying areas in other barangays pouring in.”

Monsignor Manongas said he is also asking for prayer in the wake of floods that have cut off whole communities. He appealed to people to hold prayer vigils or Masses, in order to keep the plight of the people in their consciousness.

The weather bureau forecast that heavy rain would continue for several days.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said some 18,828 families or 92,658 individuals in Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Soccsksargen regions have been displaced since October 4.

UCA News reported that the European Union announced  it is providing 300,000 ($3.13 million) to fund emergency non-food supplies and assist in the management and provision of services at evacuation and displacement sites around Zamboanga.

The four-month project will include a special focus on the most vulnerable internally displaced persons to ensure that they have access to safe and dignified shelters and access to lifesaving non-food items, including blankets, sleeping mats and kitchen utensils.


The Australian ambassador
earlier said that his government would put in A$250.000 ($1.75million).