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Philippines: UN says half a million displaced in Ramadan offensive against Moro people

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The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on September 5, 2008, that "up to 500,000 people are enduring poor health services and unsanitary conditions after fleeing the fighting between the government and Muslim rebels in the south." Meanwhile, Moro groups fear that renewed government offensives will only displace more people in conflict affected areas during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which has begun.

The UN report published in IRIN News warns:
"Moreover, analysts fear that President Gloria Arroyo's 3 September decision to dissolve a negotiating panel seeking a political solution to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) 30-year rebellion will trigger increased violence across the southern island of Mindanao.
"The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said on 4 September that four weeks of fighting between government soldiers and MILF forces had displaced some 423,772 people. These people 'are directly affected and needing assistance of any form. They either lost their houses, are displaced and/or lost their livelihoods.' [More]