Over 55,000 people forced to flee homes in Marawi

displaced marawi residents
DISPLACED. Residents of Marawi City fleeing the clashes between government forces and the Maute Group pass through a checkpoint in Iligan City on May 24, 2017. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

The Department of Social Welfare and Development says it will provide assistance even to evacuees staying in their neighbors’ or relatives’ houses

MANILA, Philippines (May 29, 2017) — At least 55,095 people or 11,458 families have fled their homes in Marawi City since Tuesday, May 23, following clashes between government troops and the Maute Group.

As of Sunday, May 28, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said 3,759 persons or 979 families are still staying in 13 evacuation centers, while 51,089 persons or 10,232 families have been staying in their neighbors’ or relatives’ houses in Northern Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

According to DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, the agency will provide assistance to all internally displaced persons (IDPs) – both those in and outside evacuation centers.

“As of now, they are mostly in Iligan City and they number more than the IDPs in evacuation centers. Assistance should be given to evacuees staying in their relatives’ houses after undergoing validation as well,” Taguiwalo said.

philippine red cross
AID. Humanitarian groups like the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) provide aid to thousands of evacuees affected by the armed conflict in Marawi City. Photo courtesy of PRC

As the military offensive against the Maute Group shows no signs of slowing down, humanitarian groups like the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) have also stepped up relief efforts to help affected civilians.

To respond to the needs of those who sought refuge in evacuation centers, the PRC has provided hot meals and clean water, as well as psychosocial support, first aid, blood supply for injured individuals, and tracing services.

“During this time of crisis, our Red Cross staff and volunteers on the ground never waver in their humanitarian mission to deliver aid and assistance to affected families and individuals,” said PRC chairman Richard Gordon.

Seven welfare desks were also set up at the Iligan School of Fisheries, Maria Cristina Barangay Hall, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), Baloi Gym, Adventist Medical Center, Saguiaran Evacuation Center, and Kinasanghan Hi-Way-2.

The PRC has also distributed 1,800 liters of water in evacuation centers. Some 1,000 families from Balo-i evacuation center and Lanao del Norte were also given 5,000 liters of water, while 1,900 families received 10,000 liters of water.

“This is not the time to blame and to divide. We are all Filipinos. We are one people – one Philippines,” said Gordon.

  by Move.PH | Rappler.com