From September 9th to the 30th of 2013, armed conflict between MNLF rebels and the troops of the Philippine government resulted in the evacuation of civilians as homes were being burned. At the end of October, the number of dead was placed at 140, wounded 268, and the number affected at 20,810 families or 105,705 individuals currently in need both outside and inside evacuation centers. The number of homes totally damaged by the series of fires is 10,160 homes.
Our local partners, the Philippine Children’s Ministry Network sent an assessment team the last week of November and since Typhoon Haiyan struck Visayas, the situation in the evacuation camps has deteriorated with government resources being pulled elsewhere.
The main concern for us is the care and protection of children and helping them recover from trauma. We are holding an OperationSAFE child trauma camp in Zamboanga from December 26th to the 31st at Manpang Elementary School which functions as one of the evacuation centers. This will become a model and training for local church workers to continue psychosocial care for the children in the months ahead.