Emergency Response – Zamboanga

Project Emergency Response – Zamboanga
Objectives

• To address public health concerns caused by bad hygiene practices and sanitation facilities • To reduce the spread of communicable diseases that are spread as a result of bad hygiene and sanitation practices • To restore and uphold the dignity of individuals displaced by the conflict through the provision of essential hygiene related items • To support relief operations in Zamboanga City by coordinating with other actors in efforts to maximise resources and avoid duplication of services

Project Partners MinHRAC
Activities

Hygiene Kit Distribution

Locations Zamboanga City
Period 30 September – 10 October 2013
Accomplishments

Distributed 2,500 Hygiene Kits to the most vulnerable beneficiaries affected by the conflict

Background
Fighting broke out between a splinter group of the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP) in the coastal villages of Zamboanga City on 9 September
2013. The fighting initially displaced at least 4,000 people and
more than 100 civilians were taken hostage to be used as human
shields. As fighting intensified the number of people who were
forced to leave their homes and relocate to evacuation centres
grew exponentially to 63,000 within the first week itself.
MERCY Malaysia has established a notable presence in the region
with strong working ties with government agencies as well as
with international and local organisations, having conducted
emergency relief work in various parts of Mindanao over the past
two years and development projects in the neighbouring areas
of Cotabato and Maguindanao. Being part of the Mindanao
Humanitarian Team (MHT) which is headed by UNOCHA, an
appeal was made to provide much needed support to the relief
operations in Zamboanga City. Thus a decision was made to
respond to the needs of the affected population as spelled out by
UNOCHA.

MERCY Malaysia’s efforts
MERCY Malaysia in partnership with the Mindanao Human Rights
Action Centre (MinHRAC) initiated a WASH (water, sanitation
and hygiene) intervention in order to tackle the growing need for
WASH services in the already overcrowded evacuation centres.
As public health concerns grew with the ever increasing displaced
persons, MinHRAC was tasked to carry out rapid assessments to
determine the most critical evacuation centres where WASH needs
were needed. Due to the high security risk in Zamboanga City
and the ever present threat to international personnel, MinHRAC
was tasked as the implementing partner of MERCY Malaysia and
carried out the distribution of Hygiene Kits through their local
staff.

Based on the assessment carried out by MinHRAC through its local
volunteers and monitors in Zamboanga City, a hygiene kit was
designed according to the needs of the displaced families. The
Hygiene Kits contained toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, detergent,
sanitary napkins, towel and slippers and were designed to cover a
total of 2,500 families.

The procurement of the items had to be done in Pagadian City
as supplies in Zamboanga had run out and the supply chain had
been crippled by the ongoing conflict. A team of three persons
from MinHRAC’s headquarters in Cotabato had to travel to
Pagadian City, which is the largest city midway between Cotabato
and Zamboanga, to procure the hygiene items which were then
transferred to Zamboanga where they were then packed in
MinHRAC’s Zamboanga Satellite Office.

The packing of the Hygiene Kits was carried out with the help of
community volunteers, many of whom were displaced as well.
The team re-packed the Hygiene Kits throughout the night and
commenced with the distribution the next morning in collaboration
with the City Social Welfare and Development. A total of 2500 kits
were distributed in areas where they were deemed most necessary.
These locations included Magna Building Evacuation Centre, Sta.
Maria Elementary School Evacuation Centre, Home-based IDPs in
Barangay Baliwasan, Barangay Tumaga and Barangay Talon-Talon,
Al-Jahara Mosque and the Cawa-cawa shoreline.