Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR131025B - Australia provides further aid for conflict affected Mindanao

Australia provides further aid for conflict affected Mindanao
25 October 2013

The Australian Government will provide an additional Php20 million (A$500,000) in emergency aid for families who remain affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Basilan and Zamboanga City.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said, “We are concerned that the conflict in Zamboanga continues and that there are thousands of people who remain suffering and are in dire need of assistance.”

Among the key pressing issues now are the resumption of educational services and protection of children affected by the conflict. More than 21,250 children under five, including 11,050 pregnant and lactating women, were affected and require nutrition services and protection.

“Australia’s additional contribution will help address needs in these areas, including resumption of early learning and educational services as soon as possible and provision of critical psychosocial support to affected children. These will provide safe environment to children, help them regain sense of normalcy and support their psychosocial recovery and their education,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

At the request of the Philippine Government, Australia earlier provided Php10 million (A$252,000) for emergency aid including food, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, blankets, water containers, kitchen and hygiene kits for people left homeless by the conflict.

The Australian Government has made these items available through partnerships with the Philippine Red Cross, the World Food Programme, and the United Nations Population Fund to assist the Philippine Government to respond quickly and effectively to the ongoing crisis in Zamboanga City and Basilan.

Fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the MNLF broke out in Zamboanga City on 9 September, and by 13 September had spilled over to the nearby island of Basilan. More than 120 000 people remain displaced and 10 000 homes destroyed by fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a splinter group of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City and the province of Basilan in Mindanao.

In partnership with the Philippine Government, Australia’s aid program is working to improve the conditions for peace and security in Mindanao.