Jolo appeals for assistance after worst fire in decades
A drone photo from a resident of Jolo, Sulu shows the twin fires in Barangay Bus-bus and Barangay Walled City on Tuesday afternoon.
via Roel Pareño
Jolo appeals for assistance after worst fire in decades
Roel Pareño ( - July 25, 2018 - 11:57am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Updated 2:29 p.m.) — Officials of Jolo, Sulu are appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for immediate assistance for thousands of residents displaced by fires in two villages there.

Jolo Mayor Kerkhar Tan said that, according to an initial count, 3,000 houses were destroyed and 15,000 residents have been displaced in twin fires that raged for 10 hours in  Barangay Bus-bus and Barangay Walled City.

By Wednesday afternoon, Tan said the number of those displaced had gone up to at least 25,000.

Tan said no casualties have been reported in the fires, the biggest in Sulu's capitol town since the 1974 Battle of Jolo between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front.

Tan said the number of houses and structures destroyed and residents displaced could still go up as teams continue to assess the damage.

Fire trucks and firefighters struggled to get through narrow streets as the fire spread quickly on Tuesday afternoon.

"Our town and the provincial government cannot do it alone. We really need the assistance of the regional (government) for relief assistance and we are appealing to  the president to help us," Tan said.

He said the municipal government has set up at least five evacuation centers for the displaced residents.

Laisa Alamia, executive secretary and concurrent Social Welfare secretary of the ARMM, have mobilized relief teams in coordination with the military to transport relief goods to Jolo from Cotabato.

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