MANILA, Oct. 1, 2013— The Catholic Church’s social action arm has launched an appeal for humanitarian assistance to Zamboanga City.
The National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) made the fundraising appeal on Monday to support its local partner working in evacuation centers.
To date, Nassa has sent P100,000 as initial contribution to the relief efforts of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga for families displaced by armed conflict.
Additionally, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Nassa chairman, said some dioceses have also sent truckloads of clothes, mongo beans and rice.
However, he said that the needs continue to rise everyday and are expected to be so in the next three to six months.
“We call on your help to sustain the Church’s aid and together bring the Christian message of love and peace to our brothers and sisters in need,” Pabillo said.
More than two weeks of skirmishes between the military and the Moro National Liberation Front have resulted in “devastating impact” to the people in Zamboanga City.
The tension, the church agency said, has displaced more than 200,000 people and on Sept. 9, the local public officials have sought the help of the archdiocese to open its churches to more evacuees.
The archdiocese is currently catering to the needs of some 18,736 evacuees in 11 evacuation centers. This number is apart from some 40,000 families being served by the government.
According to the Nassa, the situation in each evacuation center varies. While seven of the evacuation centers have kitchens, four have no provision for cooking and the archdiocese spends some P70,000 daily in preparing hot meals for at least 2,000 people.
The archdiocese also distributes some 3,500 food packs daily to meet the evacuees’ daily caloric requirement.
“Children, in particular, are getting sick with the unvaried diet since traditional staples like beans and vegetables are not available in the market,” the Nassa added.
The fighting has also spilled-over to Basilan province where thousands of people were also reported displaced from Lamitan City and other towns.
Pabillo said the archdiocese prefers cash donations since they can already buy food in the city.
He said donations may be deposited to the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) via Account Name CBCP Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Inc. with Account Number 4951-0071-08. (CBCPNews)