UN worried about Philippines' humanitarian crisis
MANILA (AP) - The United Nations voiced concern on Wednesday over the fate of more than 100,000 Filipinos displaced by two weeks of fighting between government troops and Muslim rebels, saying they were at risk of disease from crowded and unsanitary conditions in evacuation centers.
The Philippine government said the crisis in southern Zamboanga city was nearing an end with the surrender of another large batch of the insurgents, who took nearly 200 civilians hostage on September 9 after a failed attempt to occupy the city.
The UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in the Philippines, Luiza Carvalho, said that the fighting has left about 132 people dead, affected 158,000 people and destroyed more than 10,000 homes. About 109,000 people are displaced in Zamboanga and almost 19,000 in neighbouring Basilan province, she said.
"We are increasingly alarmed by the situation and the growing needs of people caught up with violence," Ms Carvalho said in a statement. She said that the displaced included around 70,000 staying in the main sports complex in Zamboanga "in desperately overcrowded conditions and insufficient sanitation facilities". She said there was a risk of a disease outbreak while food, drinking water, health services and cooking utensils were in short supply.