The Philippines’ southern region of Mindanao has been riddled by a series of overlapping conflicts for decades, taking a huge toll on the local population. In September 2013, for example, an armed separatist group launched an attack on government forces in the city of Zamboanga, resulting in the displacement of some 126 000 people – close to one sixth of the town’s entire population.
Three and a half years later, the vast majority have now been able to shift to relocation sites, or move in with relatives. But 11 000 people still remain displaced, with no clear timeline on when their lives will return to normal.
Since day one, the European Commission provided these communities with basic humanitarian services such as shelter, water and sanitation facilities, food assistance, basic health care, and psychosocial care. At a later stage, support was also provided in the form of cash grants to help them restart their livelihoods, literally changing their lives.
Story by Pierre Prakash
© EU/ECHO/Pierre Prakash