A year after the Philippine government declared the end of the Marawi siege, some 65,000 people remain displaced and uncertain of their future. They now demand immediate action and support to surpass the burden left behind by the conflict.
In a statement released by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Manila, Meher Khatcherian, head of their office in Iligan City said people struggle every day to make ends meet with whatever help they can get “as uncertainty about their homecoming adds to their worries.”
“They deserve support and clarity about the future. Though there have been some positive developments, the people of Marawi had hoped for more to be done by now,”he added.
Displaced people living either with relatives, in evacuation centers or transitional sides, they have no regular access to potable water and proper sanitation facilities. It was reported adults lack adequate livelihood opportunities and their children’s education remains disrupted. Immediate relatives of people who went missing in Marawi need to be assistance during the process of clarifying the fate of their love ones. Families of people who went missing in Marawi need to be accompanied during the process of clarifying the fate of their loved ones.
Khatcherian and his team witnessed the plight of people firsthand since the firefight broke out in May 2017 and worked to help affected Marawi residents and brought whatever assistance possible.
Working with the Philippine Red Cross, the ICRC continues to focus on the evolving needs of the residents. They have distributed cash grants to thousands of returnee families, helping them restore their livelihood.
Tools to repair their shelters have been given to residents through the PRC as the authorities have been provided with technical support to ensure smooth functioning and potential expansion of the city’s water network. The ICRC also distributed essential medicines and supplies and has assisted existing health-care facilities in Lanao del Sur.
“But there is one thing that remains a top priority for the displaced families and it’s the need to get clarity about their future so that they can move ahead. After having their lives completely disrupted by the five-month conflict, and their properties destroyed, they need to regain a sense of ownership about their future. Their voices need to be heard,”Khatcherian further said.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared the end of fighting in war-torn Marawi City last October 17,2017. (APD)