Philippines: Revision of the Zamboanga Action Plan 2014 (October 2013 - August 2014)

20 May 2014

This document outlines the plan of action for the Philippines Humanitarian Country Team’s response to the needs of people affected by the Zamboanga Crisis in September 2013. It was issued by the Humanitarian Country Team in collaboration with partners.


  • In September 2013, fighting between a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Zamboanga City affected an estimated 118,800 people. Six months since the crisis began, 64,600 people remain displaced in evacuation centres, transition sites and host communities. 
  • To complement the Government’s recovery efforts, humanitarian partners are seeking US$12.8 million[1]to continue to provide targeted assistance to the displaced people for six months. 
  • Further decongestion of crowded, unsustainable evacuation centres, where water provision and maintenance of sanitation facilities, shelter and livelihood opportunities do not meet minimum standards for all IDPs, is required.
  • 118,800 People affected by the crisis in Zamboanga City
  • 64,600 IDPs targeted for assistance
  • 10,000+ Destroyed houses
  • $12.8 million Revised funding requirement
  • 43% Funded
  • 14 Projects

Source: Department of Social Welfare and Development, Region IX (24 March 2014)

Situation Overview

In September 2013, fighting between a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) affected and forcibly displaced an estimated 118,800 people in Zamboanga City during the height of the conflict. The 20-day siege left at least 140 people dead and over 10,000 houses destroyed. Six months since the crisis began, about half of the internally displaced people (IDPs) have returned to their places of origin according to the Protection Cluster. However, some 64,600 IDPs (26,550 people in seven evacuation centres and five transition sites, and 38,050 people in host communities) still need humanitarian support while the Government implements its rehabilitation plan and timely durable solutions are being sought.

Prolonged displacement in overcrowded conditions without adequate sanitation and nutrition or protection from abuse and exploitation continues to pose health and protection risks, particularly in the two largest evacuation centres hosting some 20,000 IDPs (Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex and Cawa-Cawa shoreline). According to the Health Cluster, a total of 104 IDP deaths were reported from September 2013 to March 2014; 48 per cent were children under age 5, with diarrhoea as the leading cause of mortality. The mortality rate for children under age 5 reached emergency threshold four times, with the latest incidence in February. Dry weather conditions in Zamboanga City caused water levels in the city’s reservoir to fall since early March; as a result, water as well as electricity rationing has exacerbated the living conditions of the IDPs. Furthermore, with only two water tankers available, there has been irregular water delivery to the evacuation centres and transition sites. Further decongestion of the centres, water provision and sanitation maintenance, timely transitional and permanent shelter solutions, and ensuring all IDPs have access to livelihood opportunities are urgently needed.

Local and national authorities have begun implementing the Zamboanga City Roadmap for Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R), looking at longer-term shelter solutions and infrastructure development. The plan is being implemented from January 2014 to June 2015 with the first phase of permanent housing construction estimated to be completed by the end of September 2014 (refer to the timeline below). The vast majority of IDPs remaining in the evacuation centres, many of whom have not been adequately included in the Z3R plan, are from minority communities and depend on the sea for their livelihood. City government officials have requested support from humanitarian partners to continue to complement their efforts to assist IDPs who are still in evacuation centres, transition sites and host communities; funding remains a concern, however, with the current appeal critically underfunded at 21 per cent (refer to Funding section).

According to the Basilan Provincial Social Welfare Office, most of the over 18,000 IDPs displaced by the September 2013 MNLF-AFP conflict in Akbar, Tuburan and Tipo-Tipo municipalities and Lamitan City have returned to their places of origin. However, there are still people who have not permanently returned due to insecurity in some areas, and are in need of humanitarian support, particularly in Tipo-Tipo. These IDPs will be supported through the municipal social welfare offices and local non-governmental organizations.

Overall response and challenges: Zamboanga City and the national government, supported by humanitarian partners, have continued to provide assistance to IDPs over the past six months. An estimated 120,000 people received food support through general food distributions until December 2013, while 5,600 IDP families in evacuation centres and transition sites and 6,000 family returnees benefitted from food-for-work and cash assistance as the response has shifted focus towards livelihood programmes. Additional food assistance is being mobilized until May upon the request of the Government.

Access to basic health services, including reproductive health, were provided through mobile medical teams, transitional health posts, emergency health units and barangay (the lowest administrative unit in the Philippines) health stations. Regular disease surveillance has prevented outbreaks. Nutrition screening enabled treatment of malnourished IDP children in the largest evacuation centres and in 16 barangays; food supplements and therapeutic feeding were integrated into food assistance programmes. Water delivery and testing, construction and maintenance of latrines and drainage systems, and hygiene promotion activities have improved water and sanitation conditions in evacuation centres and transition sites. Most education services have resumed and 95 per cent of IDP schoolchildren have been tracked. Humanitarian partners also continue to assist local authorities to ensure dignified relocation of IDP families to transition sites and fast-track the construction of temporary shelters.

Regular monitoring, prevention and response activities have not adequately improved the protection of IDPs, especially women and children, who continue to be exposed to violence, abuse and exploitation. Communication with communities through regular mobile information sessions and community consultations needs to be improved. The city government and humanitarian organizations have provided information on available services. However, many IDPs, particularly those remaining in evacuation and transit centres, are unaware of how they will be supported to find a durable solution.

While efforts continue to find durable solutions for IDPs, the large number of IDPs still in evacuation centres has not been adequately included in planning for durable solutions. In addition, the lack of available information about land on which to construct transitional and permanent housing remains a gap. Ensuring the availability of culturally suitable livelihood opportunities in return and permanent relocation areas needs to be increased for the minority population. Also needed is the continued maintenance of WASH facilities and services and sustained hygiene promotion in existing evacuation centres and new transition sites.

The Zamboanga Action Plan revision: On 18 March, a workshop was held in Zamboanga City involving over 80 participants from government and humanitarian agencies. The city Government elaborated its response plan and jointly evaluated with cluster partners the outstanding humanitarian and early recovery needs to be addressed until December 2014. The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) endorsed the Zamboanga Action Plan revision process with the aim of providing targeted humanitarian support for the remaining IDPs in Zamboanga over a six-month period while government recovery efforts continue to be scaled up to include all IDPs.

[1]All dollar signs in this document denote United States dollars. Funding for this appeal should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS,, which will display its requirements and funding on the current appeals page. 

Document History

20 May 2014

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