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800 kg of beef for Zamboanga evacuees rot

/ 10:46 PM October 22, 2013

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Hundreds of kilograms of beef being kept in a cold storage facility here, which were intended for residents displaced by fighting between government soldiers and followers of Moro leader Nur Misuari, were laid to waste by long hours of power outages that have been hitting the city and the rest of Mindanao, officials said.

The estimates on the volume of the wasted meat varied from a few hundred kilograms to as high as 800 kilograms.

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But members of the city council, who went to the cold storage facility, said whatever the meat’s volume was, it would have fed a lot of people.

Antonio Orendain, the city administrator, said city officials came to know of the rotting meat, which he estimated at about 800 kg, when it started emitting a foul odor while being kept inside a cold storage facility owned by a businessman he did not identify.

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The meat was part of the 1.9 tons of beef the city government received from the Turkish Tolerance School on Oct. 15 through its administrator Mehmet Biter.

The donation was made through the city mayor’s office and the city council. “Because of the huge volume, the intention was to save the meat for the next day but due to the blackouts, the meat was lost to spoilage,” Orendain said.

A staffer at the city council said the meat started to smell like rotting corpses.

Councilor Myra Paz Abubakar said she believed the manner by which the meat was stocked was responsible for the spoilage.

Abubakar also tried to downplay the incident by saying it only involved about a hundred kilograms of what remained of the donation she had received.

She said that the meat donation made through the city council had been distributed to 16 evacuation centers on Oct. 15 and 16.

She said the distribution lasted until midnight of those days. Some of the meat, she said, had been cooked at a community kitchen in the village of Sta. Maria. What was left, she said, had been “placed in a cold storage facility of a friend.”

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Palma Saidi, an evacuee staying at Don Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex and a resident of Sta. Barbara village, said she was not among those who got a ration of beef and that she and family continued to eat cassava cake donated to them.

“I have never tasted beef yet but I know some were able to get their share yesterday,” Saidi said.

“Such a pity I was not able to get mine because it’s limited,” she said.

Zaida Maru, a grandmother of three, said she felt so bad at the thought that hundreds of kilograms of meat got spoiled and they were not given a share of it.

Abubakar said the spoiled meat had been buried in the compound of the city motor pool in Barangay (village) San Roque because it was not fit for human consumption anymore. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Food security, MNLF, News, Nur Misuari, Regions, Zamboanga standoff
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