MANILA – A humanitarian crisis could be looming in Zamboanga City as the number of residents who have fled their homes due to the ongoing standoff between government forces and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels reached over 6,000.
Most of the evacuees were from Barangay Mampang where at least 2,000 residents left their homes on Tuesday as the gunfights between the two sides continue to escalate.
A large number of the evacuees are currently in Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex. Some are taking shelter in schools and churches.
City councilor Myra Paz Abubakar said the evacuees need additional supplies of food and other items such as clothes, blankets, and formula milk.
Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco, meanwhile, appealed to vital establishments outside the conflict zone to remain open.
Classes in the city remain suspended and the Zamboanga City International Airport is still shut down.
Local authorities said the MNLF rebels are currently holed up in at least 6 barangays, with some 170 civilians being used as "human shields."-
ANC Headstart, 11 September 2013