At least 1 person dies everyday in Zambo evacuation centers

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Zambo refugees wash themselves and their clothes in a common well in one evacuation center in this undated photo. (Melo Acuna)

MANILA, Feb. 14, 2014— The death toll from different illnesses in evacuation centers in Zamboanga City has climbed to 81 as of February 12, a Catholic Church official said.

Msgr. Crisologo Manongas, administrator of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, said at least one evacuee dies everyday in recent weeks.

“One person dies everyday. I think more than half of that are children,” Manongas lamented.

The priest criticized the government for failure to address the poor conditions of the evacuees that were displaced from last September’s fighting between the military and the Moro National Liberation Front.

According to him, the displaced families continue to languish in evacuation centers as the government’s rehabilitation efforts has remained too slow.

“The (situation) is still the same. Nothing has improved. It’s the same old story,” he said.

Manongas, meanwhile, said the archdiocese is continuing its programs to help the evacuees despite their limited resources through the help of other dioceses.

“We are going on with our relief effort and relocation. We are building permanent homes for a number of families… that’s an ongoing effort,” he added.

To date, at least 80 houses were built by the archdiocese from their target of 400 permanent shelters.

“Of course we lack (resources) because we are not receiving ample help anymore. I understand assistance are for victims of (typhoon) Yolanda and (the earthquake) in Bohol,” he said.

“We received (from the church) substantial amount but even with that it’s not enough to fulfill what we want. The money that we have can only build 80 units. We hope we can get more.”

“We have not yet applied to some agencies; the ones we have now came from the dioceses around the Philippines,” said Manongas.

Reports said more than a thousand evacuees are still staying at the Don Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex. (CBCPNews)

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